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The dark side of Information Technologies

Published: 21st January 2019 Last updated: 30th April 2019

New book by Anne Rutkowski on cognitive and emotional overload
PRESS RELEASE 21 January 2019 – We live in a world of limitless information. With technology advancing at an astonishingly fast pace, we are challenged to adapt to robotics and automated systems that threaten to replace us. Both at home and at work, an endless range of devices and Information Technology (IT) systems place demands upon our attention that human beings have never experienced before, but are our brains capable of processing it all?

Brain overload
 In a new Routledge publication, Anne Rutkowski (TiSEM) and Carol Sanders (Association of Information Systems) take an in-depth view at IT's under-studied dark side and its dire consequences for individuals, organizations, and society. It is a highly topical subject. Think of the recent developments with regard to robotization, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence. That there are drawbacks is recognized even by IT tycoons like Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook), who has made it one of his priorities in 2019 to enter into a debate on the influence of IT on society.         

With theoretical underpinnings from the fields of cognitive psychology, management, and information systems, and supported by case studies, the idea of brain overload is defined and explored.

Discussing the negative consequences of technology on work substitution, technologically induced work-family conflicts, and organizational design as well as the initiatives to combat these, the authors go on to propose measurement approaches for capturing the IT-related overload. Aiming to better equip humans for dealing with new technologies, the book concludes by asking how IT processes may aid rather than hinder our cognitive functioning.

Anne-Françoise Rutkowski  is professor in Management of Information at Tilburg University. Her research interests include information overload, decision-making, emotion, and the materiality of algorithms. Her background is in psychology. Her research has been published in Decision Support Systems, IEEE Computer, IEEE Software, Journal of Surgical Endoscopy, and MIS Quarterly.

Carol S. Saunders  is the Vice President of Publications at the Association of Information Systems. Her articles appear in top-ranked management, information systems, computer science, and communication journals. .

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