Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Autumn of the Multitaskers

To do two things at once is to do neither.
—Publilius Syrus, Roman slave, first century B.C.
Reaching for his cell phone with a newly delivered picture message, the author Walter Kirn swerved off a snowy two-lane highway and landed in a steep embankment. It was then that he began to rethink the usefulness of technology like the refrigerator-TV set and the camera-phone. In this November's Atlantic Monthly, Kirn writes about how multi-tasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy.

I heard of this article when driving home from work a couple nights ago listening to an interview between Walter Kirn and Doug Fabrizio. I think he made some really valid points on how mindless we are becoming as we try to divide our brain power into performing several tasks at once. He vouches that the mind can really only do one thing at a time, and that by splitting our resources we are actually less efficient than we would be had we been focusing on the task at hand.

You can download an mp3 of the interview here, and read the article here.

So what's your opinion? Are we becoming multi-tasking zombies or are we just adapting to a fast paced lifestyle?


Blogger Em said...

I would have to say we are adapting....not saying that that is necessary positive. I think children are over-stimulated and peoples lives are too fast paced. However, there are some good things about technology that do make things easier & more efficient.

1:15 PM, November 08, 2007  
Blogger MarylinandGary said...

Technology might make "things easier & more efficient" ~ but why then do we have less time now for leisure, family, preparing home made food, etc etc etc than we did say 40 years ago? I think that we have not adapted at all, but maybe just like to believe we have so that we can justify our lives and our must have "toys". We multi-task because we think we need to prove we can, not because it makes us more efficient. (OK ~ I admit, I typed this whilst eating breakfast and answering the phone.....argh!)

7:24 AM, November 09, 2007  

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