Friday, May 16, 2008

Focus

Ezra Klein links to an Johann Hari's account of taking Provigil. I think some of Hari's fears are unfounded:
And if this drug becomes as popular as, say, anti-depressants or Ritalin, won’t there be a social pressure for workers to take it? Many parents feel intensely pressured by schools today to drug away their child’s disobedience; will they feel pressured by their bosses to drug away their natural fatigue?
Although he is supposedly talking about "popular" drugs like "anti-depressants [and] Ritalin," the pressure he's worried about really only applies to the latter: nobody is pressured into taking anti-depressants themselves. The case of children in school is unique because of the incredible pressure our society puts on parents. I think people who aren't bosses (but I repeat myself) would already see the immense inappropriateness of any pressure from an employer to use any medication, let alone one that impacts productivity. Also, more flippantly, what boss actually wants smarter worker drones?

For myself, I love the idea of Provigil. I sure wouldn't waste it on making myself more productive at work, though.

1 comment:

Mr. Gunn said...

The article discussing modafinil was a little over-enthusiastic, I think. It's more suited for people who have to say alert and watchful for long periods of time, rather than people who need to make better decisions. It would help night watchmen or troops on combat missions more than it would help a scientist or software developer. It's not going to expand your memory or make you smarter; it'll just make you able to pay attention to something for longer. You still have to depend on your current intellect to make decisions about what you're paying attention to.

It's also hard to get, whereas piracetam is available from Amazon.