Communication can be as basic as a birdcall at dawn, or as complicated as making a satellite phone call that crosses continents.
Communication takes on many different forms; the most commonly applied media of communication between two people is speech. However, people communicate by use of gestures, facial expressions, the written word, images, or coded language.
In the present day and age, where globalization and technology have led to a level of interconnectedness between people, countries and continents as has never been there in the past, communication remains key (Stein, n.p).
The interconnectedness between individuals, sectors and continents now calls for a different kind of specialized knowledge. The traditional approach is for an individual to focus on one area of his/her discipline, and study that area in-depth. However, it is becoming apparent that there can be over-specialization that results in a narrow sort of thinking and limits innovation.
Cross-discipline calls for individuals specializing in one area delving into other branches of study that are not directly related to their current field (Dupree, n.p).
In my opinion, the more important theme between the two themes under discussion is that of Crossing Disciplines. Specialization remains important because it gives a comprehensive understanding in a specific area resulting in more constructive research. However, having a tunnel vision has its drawbacks; this is because no discipline is entirely independent of all other areas of study, research and innovation.
In every American household, there is at least one television set. Eighty five percent of households in America own a desktop. There is an estimate of five billion mobile handsets in circulation worldwide today. It is further estimated that by the year 2013, there will be a minimum of ten trillion text messages sent annually (mobicom, n.p).
Within the past decade, there have been major transformations in the way people choose to communicate. Barely ten years ago, it was considered a privilege to own a hand held device. However, cheaper methods of production and improved technology have enabled these devices be available to almost anyone (Matt, n.p).
While computers, mobile phones and other handheld devices have enabled easy communication, and easier access to information, their negative aspects are now beginning to be understood (Matt, n.p). Some scientists and sociologists argue that these devices have run over our lives; so much so that there is less value in human to human communication.
People are spending less and less time actually talking to and relating with each other as they become more hooked to the virtual realm. The argument is that while these devices have fostered communication, they are acting as a barrier to building inter-personal relations between families, co-workers and the society as a whole (Stein, n.p).
Scientific research indicates that specialization comes with a downside. When an individual focuses his or her attention on one subject to the point of excluding everything else, the likelihood is that he/she will miss the forest for the tree (Dupree, n.p).
With the high level of specialization that is to be found in the modern day, especially in the arena of science and technology, the implication is that there might be a lack of balance between innovation and specialization (Dupree, n.p).
Technology is meant to ease our way of life; however specialists who are out of touch with the average day to day lifestyle and needs of an individual may end up making it more difficult instead (Dupree, n.p). Take an example of the microwave oven. When microwaves were first introduced into the market, they came with an on and off power switch, and a knob that was used to set time. A typical microwave today has a panel of buttons.
There is a microwave, grill and defrost option. For defrost, you can choose the item (European or American), choose the weight in pounds, kilograms or stones, or you can opt for quick defrost.
Whoever put the panel on the microwave felt that each of the options was very important. The consumer though, is interested in occasionally warming a pizza and will rarely, if ever be called upon to quick defrost two and a third pounds of European chicken.
This is where crossing discipline comes in. sharing of information between the different disciplines is important because it opens up the spectrum of thought (Benedict, n.p). Furthermore, no one discipline stands independently on its own, and nothing other than good can come from the interaction of people in different fields (Dupree, n.p).
There is the cliche English proverb that states ‘too much of everything is poisonous’. This is true of both too much communication technology and specialization. It is ironical that the technology which was initially meant to make it easier to reach other people might in the long run do the exact opposite.
I am a strong advocate for participation in inter-disciplinary research and learning. While those who are not for it may argue that it is better to be a master of one trade than be a jack of all, this argument in itself is not valid. Having an understanding of disciplines related to your own make one better at what they do.
Carey, Benedict. “You’re Bored but your Brain is Tuned in.” New York Times, August 5 2008: Web. 30 Jan. 2010.
Dupree, Janet. “Innovative Minds don’t Think Alike.” New York Times December 30 2007: Web. 30 Jan. 2010.
Mobithinking. “Global Mobile Statistics, 2010.” Mobithinking.com, 2010: Web.
Ritchel, Matt. “Don’t Want to Talk About it? Order a Missed Call.” New York Times, August 2 2008: Web. 30 Jan. 2010.
Stein, Ben. Everybody’s Business. “Connected Yes, but Hermetically Sealed.” New York Times August 24 2008: Web. 30 Jan. 2010.