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None of the engineers I did my degree with were noticeably blessed with communications skills - to the extent that for one of our projects the tutor was surprised that I could actually write English fluently, because most of the write-ups he received were barely literate.

But aside from that - corporate communication skills (and here comes the PowerPoint...) are very different to real world comnunication skills.

There's a natural tendency among engineers, mathematicians and physicists to treat everything as an exercise in 'Hunt the Algorithm' - followed by a tendency to assume that reality is whichever algorithm has been invented.

This causes no end of problems socially and especially economically, because it makes it difficult to promote a more organic and less controlled world view.

All of the foundational nonsense that we're cursed with - simple one-dimensional metrics like GDP, unemployment, exchange rates, stock prices, and the rest of it - are rooted in this abstracted arms-length algorithmic way of relating to the world.

The corollary of algorithmic abstraction of social transactions is that other kinds of interactions become invisible.

So this isn't about communication skills, because if you're communicating the same old abstracted nonsense, it's still nonsense - no matter how popular it is with your boss, and no matter how well you're doing at getting the socially-approved high score with your trading model.

It's still being treated a video game, and not as something with real-world consequences which matter to people outside of the office.

And that in turn is still a form of social autism, albeit an institutionalised and culture-wide one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2007 at 10:35:14 PM EST
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