How cutting-edge technology can harm our ability to perform - New York News

How cutting-edge technology can harm our ability to perform

Updated:

By: Jamshid Ghazi Askar, Deseret News

In a blog post provocatively titled “How Today's Computers Weaken Our Brain,” the New Yorker's Tim Wu posed a compelling question earlier this week: What would have happened if some of history's great thought leaders and innovators - people like author Franz Kafka or Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, for example - had had to perform their work on a machine laden with distractions galore like today's Twitter, email and Internet?

“Kafka (and) Wozniak had one advantage over us: They worked on machines that did not readily do more than one thing at a time, easily yielding to our conflicting desires,” Wu wrote. “And, while distraction was surely available - say, by reading the newspaper, or chatting with friends - there was a crucial difference.

"Today's machines don't just allow distraction; they promote it. The Web calls us constantly, like a carnival barker, and the machines, instead of keeping us on task, make it easy to get drawn in. … We have built a generation of ‘distraction machines' that make great feats of concentrated effort harder instead of easier.”

Wu summarily dismissed the idea that human brains just need better training to multitask more effectively. He linked to a 2009 article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Cognitive control in media multitaskers,” that said, “Heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory.

"This led to the surprising result that heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, likely due to reduced ability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set. These results demonstrate that media multitasking, a rapidly growing societal trend, is associated with a distinct approach to fundamental information processing.”

Fast Company’s Drake Baer blogged at length about Wu’s New Yorker piece. After dissecting and analyzing many of the ideas advanced by Wu, Baer concluded, "We need to become literate in our brains' unexamined tendencies - and learn how to work with them."


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Friday Night Live: August 22, 2014

    Friday Night Live: August 22, 2014

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:34 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:34:20 GMT
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this episode: Ace Frehley, Big Sean, Week End Trends, and Chef Luca Manfé of MasterChef.
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this episode: Ace Frehley, Big Sean, Week End Trends, and Chef Luca Manfé of MasterChef.
  • Berg'n: new beer and food hall in Brooklyn

    Berg'n: new beer and food hall in Brooklyn

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:00:35 GMT
    The guys behind the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are at it again with a new food and booze venue called Berg'n, a new beer hall in Crown Heights. The place doesn't officially open until August 27, 2014, but owners Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler are giving it a test run for special guests, family, and the press.
    The guys behind the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are at it again with a new food and booze venue called Berg'n, a new beer hall in Crown Heights. The place doesn't officially open until August 27, 2014, but owners Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler are giving it a test run for special guests, family, and the press.
  • Giving your college-bound kids their space

    Giving your college-bound kids their space

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:31:50 GMT
    Going off to college is an exciting time for the entire family, especially for the upcoming freshman. But with technology, parents can be in touch all the time. What's too much and what's just enough? Freshman move-in day seems to be harder on the parents than the students at Stony Brook University.
    Going off to college is an exciting time for the entire family, especially for the upcoming freshman. But with technology, parents can be in touch all the time. What's too much and what's just enough? Freshman move-in day seems to be harder on the parents than the students at Stony Brook University.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices