Derek Thompson answers the question, “If Multi-Tasking is Impossible, Why are Some People so Good at it?” In his article. His basic contention is the fact that multi-tasking is merely a myth. In fact, humans are not capable of multi-tasking. As humans, we can only complete single tasks in quick secession…
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They are more likely to be distracted by new events. This can in some ways make those individuals less productive than individuals who concentrate on single tasks. Multi-tasking was a term that was created for PC units that are capable of completing multiple tasks simultaneously. Unfortunately for humans, our brains do not function in a manner that allows us to multi-task. The author provided an example of attempting to check your email and search the web at the same time. One does not surf the web while checking their email, rather they check their email, then surf the web, then check their email again, and back to surfing the web. This is the empirical proof that individuals do not multitask, but rapidly task switch. Peter Suderman explains that we have transitioned from a world where the internet would merely engage in passive marketing techniques to a world of push marketing. There is no where an individuals can hide on the internet from some form of marketing. It is inevitable that whatever form of advertisement will find its way directly to the desktop of an individual. Such a vast sea of data has conditioned the minds of the readers and now as humans we find it impossible to break out of the habits that the digital age has conditioned us into. Suderman explains how reading in such environment causes humans to only take in small fragments of information as their eyes jump all around the screen on computers taking in small bits of data. He further explains the implications in his life as he finds it harder to concentrate on reading a book because his eyes have been conditioned to move all around the page just as it was reading from a computer screen. Rosen furthers this analysis by indicating that humans take in small fragments of information and are most intrigued by the information that is specific to their lives and the information that they created. While this has allowed individuals to more quickly consume information it has failed to make humans more empathetic for one another. The problem then arises in our ability to sense the feelings of our fellow man. While a website can inform humans about a genocide occurring on the other side of the world, we now only process it as just that, information. We don’t empathize with the humans who are in constant danger. Cowen seemingly breaks into this analysis and indicates how the internet is in fact lengthening our attention span. This is because our life is dictated by the narratives in which we have access to through personal contact, but rather we are able to seek access to any particular narrative we find interesting via the internet. This is important because individuals are able follow singular stories for extended periods of time. This is important because all information is merely at your fingertips. While individuals are not able to multi-task due to the limitations of attention, the internet has allowed tasking for individuals to become increasingly effective. While some may argue that the fast paced structure of the web overloads the mind with data, others indicate that this infrastructure allows humans to quickly sift through undesirable data and focus on that which is most important to them. In the digital age it is becoming information is becoming more and more rapid, while some of the community contends that individuals are becoming less and less empathetic, others conclude humans have always showed selective attention and chose
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