Reducing Information Pollution

Interesting idea from IBM

April 8, 2009 | Posted By Nathan Zeldes

A friend pointed out an interesting patent application from IBM. The proposed system allows one to send people a calendar meeting invite that specifies no distractions are allowed during the meeting (an “exclusive attendance event”); after the attendee accepts, their computer will automatically suspend non-event related activities while the meeting is in progress. There are some additional refinements, but basically this is a computerized implementation of the seldom heard “everyone, close your Notebooks” at the start of a meeting.

Now, this is an idea with some merit; there are millions of meetings going on that are totally ineffective because everyone is “doing email” or web surfing instead of listening. It is interesting to  note, therefore, how the article in the Daily Tech where I saw it reported actually ridicules it as a case of “IBM Files Patent Application to Ignore Its Software”, which is like saying that installing a brake in its cars is a case of Ford “installing a device to ignore its own motors”. Whoever wrote this was ignoring the very real benefit such a system would have on meeting effectiveness. Strange…


One Response

  1. PPT Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    You are right Nathan!
    Daily Tech’s take on this announcement is interesting but then again to quote the late great Walt Kelly’s Pogo-

    “Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us.”


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