autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

On why a basic knowledge of technology is important

[The following, a short essay submitted early in the year, presents an idea that I intend to develop more fully as I continue to delve into items/areas like organizational psychology and management theory. – ed.]

In considering a skill that most people do not have but could benefit from mastering, there are a number of skills worthy of consideration. Given the current context, I find the skill worthy of strongest advocacy is that of being technologically aware and competent. To define this item more specifically: People, at the very least, should have a general knowledge of technology, its history, and a corresponding knowledge and mastery of basic computing and information processing skills. The “short list” of topics that such mastery would include is an understanding of:

* Basic personal computing terms and concepts.
* Basic technology terms and concepts (e.g., computer networking, types of network access, etc).
* Basic insight to how a personal computer works (components and their purpose).
* Intermediate level skill in using common personal computing tools.
* Intermediate level skill in utilizing the Internet (i.e., search engines, social networking, and general research skills).
* Technological competency as an ever-changing thing.

The benefit of this skill in today’s world is, I think, self-evident. Among the much longer list of potential benefits one may expect from mastery of this skill is the ability to:

* Rapidly utilize technology to supplement and support daily efforts.
* Immediately interact with, react to, and incorporate relevant information.

The effective use of technology creates a readily available environment of support and service that, by design and intent, accelerate what is otherwise time and labor intensive manual processes. This acceleration brings its own benefits, the least of which include increased responsiveness, productivity, and efficiency across the personal, social, and professional landscapes.

This skill and the underlying abilities it delivers are increasingly required elements in many venues of daily life. The absence of this skill places anyone so lacking into a position that mandates moderate to extreme amounts of effort, time, and resources to effectively deliver and compete in any venue where technology is an available resource. Worse yet, a lack of technical competency may actually introduce the need for exponentially larger amounts of time and effort to compensate for lack of ability or skill (i.e., re-work, correction of mistakes, recreation of information in the event of loss due to lack of technical understanding, etc).

The days when technology and its effective use were difficult and cumbersome topics to approach, let alone absorb, are largely behind us. There are a plethora of offerings, many of which are free, available to assist people in pursuit of mastering this skill. Add to this, there are a number of immediate and profound advantages that become readily apparent as soon as one engages the process of learning this skill.

The primary “hidden” benefit of mastering the skill of technological awareness and competency is a corresponding increase in overall organizational and management skill. At core, technology is the science of information processing and the art of developing reusable patterns for information storage and retrieval.

The baseline method of technology (identify, organize, store, retrieve, process, prepare, and deliver) is strikingly similar in many ways to how the human brain processes information.

The degree to which the two share patterns for modeling and managing information is best demonstrated by looking at the nature of technology and how its tool sets provide an increasingly granular understanding of information and knowledge management.

These similarities lend well to one another, with people who learn and understand technology experiencing something of an “intellectual cross-pollination”; The result of which is that they gain the ability to make application of the same methods and processes used in technology to identify, organize, store, retrieve, process, prepare, and deliver results across decidedly disparate avenues, independent of the availability of technology itself. Some of the more obvious applications of this type include:

* Identifying or creating consistent organizational structures.
* Developing information granularity and identifying cross-references or similarities (e.g., meta- data).
* Proficiency in discovering normalization opportunities that provide increased efficiency in processing and management.
* Effecting increased knowledge retention and delivery.

Increased general proficiency is a natural byproduct of becoming competent as the entirety of technology is a replication of human processing models. The recursion of method (human process begetting technology process begetting improvements of the human process), a concept that would otherwise be problematic to convey, is communicated almost as if via osmosis, with no direct discussion of or introduction of the nigh philosophical context implied by the recursion.

In summary, mastering technology contains far-reaching benefits well beyond those that may otherwise motivate one to become more technologically aware and competent.