After seven months of work, my research on cognitive enhancement drugs (CEDs) in IT finally published. It published as part of Gartner’s annual Maverick project, which is a bit like an incubator for fringe research topics. Even publishing as Maverick, there are bound to be questions about the real likelihood of CEDs entering the IT department. That’s not unreasonable, and there are some interesting indicators. I’ll refer to two.
The first is a quote from an engineer at Uber. The context is a Buzzfeed article about the impact of Uber’s culture on employees: “If you’ve been woken up at 3 a.m. for the last five days, and you’re only sleeping three to four hours a day, and you make a mistake, how much at fault are you, really?”
It’s a good question. The reality is, in most companies, the engineer is at fault.
The second example is much more recent. Deeplearning.ai, a startup in the AI space recently posted a job description stating the employee would be expected to regularly work 70-90 hours per week:
Are those working hours sustainable? Can you reliably produce high quality work when working 11-12 hours per day? (Although with 24 hours in a day, working just 12 hours could be considered only working half days.) It’s not unreasonable to assume that, with these expectations for working hours, some form of cognitive enhancement is expected, if not demanded.
Don’t dismiss this as some Silicon Valley anomaly. Every company feels the pressure to digitalize, probably because of the work of some Silicon Valley startups. This increases pressure everywhere, especially in IT as it bears the brunt of the transformation effort.
Work pressures are only one reason people take smart drugs. Others include interested experimenters, who I call “pharmanauts” in my research, as well as others. But the people taking prescription drugs for cognitive deficiencies they may not have just to survive punitive work culture is the most dangerous scenario for both the employees and the employer.
If you’re working in tech and are either taking CEDs or thinking about it, I’d like to hear from you. Please respond in the comments and I’ll respond to you privately.
And if you’re a Gartner client interested in this research, you can find it here: Maverick* Research: Cognitive Enhancement Drugs Are Changing Your Business
Read Complimentary Relevant Research
Organizing for Big Data Through Better Process and Governance
With big data past the Peak of Inflated Expectations on the Hype Cycle, organizations are addressing next-level challenges and asking,...
View Relevant Webinars
Survey Insights: Big Data Adoption
Big data investments continue to rise but are showing signs of tapering. The concept is transitioning toward specific impacts to business...
Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.