The NYT attacks the idea of time-slicing and multi-tasking and ubiquitous connectivity, arguing that always-on people (ahem) are junkies for the adrenaline rush of juggling a peak load, where one slip means disaster, like jet pilots or extreme sports afficianados, and that they (er, we) get less done
as a result of our divided attention.
Well, I don't have anything other than my own experience to go on, and no empirical measurements of that, but I've been multitasking since I was a child, and I feel that I'm very, very productive. It's true that I have a panicky terror at the thought of being bored, but at the same time, I would argue that my five-things-at-once always-connected way of being is a successful adaptation, not a harmful addiction.
Neil Postman argues that due to telecommunications, our attention-spans have been debilitatingly foreshortened, and he convincingly illustrates this by comparing the reasoned and lengthy rhetoric of the Lincoln-Douglas debates with the soundbite-driven Reagan-Dukakis (?) debates.
The experts cited in this piece seem to be arguing the same thing, along the lines of, "That danged Internet is so slippery and fluid, it's taken away peoples' ability to watch television."
When do we stop lamenting a change like this and start looking for the value of the new trend? When do we start examining the upsides of fluid and multifarious attention, rather than popping off reactionary warnings about the dangers of being "addicted" to communications?
When do we get to consider the benefits of living with one foot in the Net and the other in meatspace?
Dr. Hallowell and John Ratey, an associate professor at Harvard and a psychiatrist with an expertise in attention deficit disorder, are among a growing number of physicians and sociologists who are assessing how technology affects attention span, creativity and focus. Though many people regard multitasking as a social annoyance, these two and others are asking whether it is counterproductive, and even addicting.
The pair have their own term for this condition: pseudo-attention deficit disorder. Its sufferers do not have actual A.D.D., but, influenced by technology and the pace of modern life, have developed shorter attention spans. They become frustrated with long-term projects, thrive on the stress of constant fixes of information, and physically crave the bursts of stimulation from checking e-mail or voice mail or answering the phone.
"It's like a dopamine squirt to be connected," said Dr. Ratey, who compares the sensations created by constantly being wired to those of narcotics — a hit of pleasure, stimulation and escape. "It takes the same pathway as our drugs of abuse and pleasure."
Coming after improvements to Firefox and continued unease at Google’s life-pervading insight, this image is outperforming the ███████ ████ Virality Control Group today (via). It got me thinking about all the promises that were made. Here’s the earliest article in Google News to contain “Big browser” in its headline, published by Time Magazine on Nov. […]
The WiFi232 is a traditional old-timey old-schooley Hayes-compatible 300-115200 baud modem, no wider than its own parallel DB25 port. Automatically responds with a customizable busy message when already in a call. The killer app seems to be using it to get internet onto ancient retro portables like the TRS-80 Model 102, but it’s been put […]
Most tech-media takes on the iPhone’s 10th anniversary are bland and self-congratulatory, but I like Tom Warren’s at The Verge. He laments how Apple’s pocket computer killed his inner nerd. As a youngster, he’d be constantly tearing down and building computers, even in the sweltering heat of summer. But now… …All of that tinkering and […]
If you often find yourself far away from AC power, or just want to guarantee that you’ll have GPS access on your next camping trip, the SolarJuice External Solar Battery is an excellent companion for outdoor adventures. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store for $59.99.The SolarJuice has a 26,800 mAh battery capable of […]
Between election hacks, ransomware, and Devil’s Ivy, the cybersecurity space is booming as malware and hackers become more sophisticated. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in ethical hacking, or just want to secure your own devices, The Super-Sized Ethical Hacking Bundle is a great resource.In this bundle, you’ll learn the fundamental skills of ethical hacking, prepare […]
The TREBLAB X11 Earphones are versatile, offer great sound, and are currently $32.99 in the Boing Boing Store.These Bluetooth earbuds are a great workout companion. They’re totally sweat proof and their ear-fins keep them snugly in place during high activity — something that Apple’s AirPods can only do if you were blessed with precisely the […]