Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance

My current definition of cognitive dissonance comes from reading the Economist's Style Guide on the way in to the office, and Communications of the ACM on the way home.

With some effort, there is some meaning to be extracted from the latter journal, but the violence impressed upon the English language by the computing profession is severe.

I know I am a victim of this social phenomenon. The Style Guide informs us that the "online community means geeks and nerds". I take exception to this, but given my colonial education in science and engineering, I am poorly equipped to explain why I am neither a circus performer who bites the heads off chickens nor a character in a derivative American sitcom.

More serious is the droning language describing initiatives in information technology to obtain an understanding of the role of new technology and its systemic impacts of automation, notwithstanding the achievements we have heretofore achieved regarding the human impacts (CACM March 2007, p. 37).

With all due respect, I say WTF?

The state of information technology is confusion and crisis, as it has been for the past 30 years.

How do we fix it? How about if IT practitioners (we aren't professionals, thank goodness) start saying what they mean and meaning what they say?

The software crisis is a crisis in human communication. Let's move out of this state of perpetual war and see if we can make some progress in this industry.

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