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Should Creative Workers Use Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs?
Jamais Cascio   May 8, 2009   Fast Company  

We may face a choice between altering our brain chemistries and falling behind in the global economy.

And with that altered brain chemistry, are we sure that we’re not losing something? Many of the cognitive enhancement drugs serve to increase focus and concentration. But “letting your mind wander” is very often an important part of the creative process. The “aha!” experience comes from the brain making connections between superficially unrelated subjects, and identifying a deeper link. How do enhancements that focus our attention affect this process? Is it possible that cognitive drugs enhance one aspect of knowledge work—productivity—while diminishing another—creativity?

Conversely, to what degree is the uproar over modafinil, ritalin, and the like just another example of futurephobia? There’s a phrase I sometimes use when talking about this kind of issue: “Technology” is anything invented after you turn 13. That is, we tend to think of new disruptive innovations as being “technology,” and hence disruptive, while ignoring older innovations that have become embedded into our larger environment, no matter how much they shape our lives.

Read the rest at Fast Company.

Jamais Cascio is a Senior Fellow of the IEET, and a professional futurist. He writes the popular blog Open the Future.



COMMENTS

> “Is it possible that cognitive drugs enhance one aspect of knowledge work:productivity:while diminishing another:creativity?”>

I let my cynical side take over for a minute, and it started coming up with a short list to be added after the word “creativity.” I’m sure if I took one of these cognitive drugs, I could come up with some more. (smirk)

I’d like to say that in my opinion, this article was one of your best.

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