Multi-Bumbling

March 22nd, 2012 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

For only one more example that, for crying out loud in a bucket, we as a species are not multitaskers, consider the young woman who walked off a pier into cold Michigan water while texting. Sure it happens widely and rarely makes the news, except on the level of ridicule by acquaintances and relatives.

I’ve ridden this horse for years, like here and here.  For over a decade, I’ve seen adults and kids in malls walk into objects and people…because their brains are too single-stream to use a phone and travel simultaneously.

I lay special blame at the feet and graves of the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. As marketing ploys, they blithely told consumers and managers alike that humans multitask well. This dovetails perfectly with the managers’ belief that lazy employees should be doing three or more complex tasks simultaneously (and well) instead of sucking away company money for goofing off.

Unfortunately for that fantasy, having several computer programs running and one or more phone calls connected and maybe even a meeting or oral conversation at one time is plain stupid. To belabor the computer context, we simply don’t have the RAM, processor speed, or disk to deal with many threads concurrently. A tiny fraction of us have brains capable of multitasking and the odds are high that you are not in that group. Give it a rest.

We believe we do only because software companies and bosses say that is so. This delusion has become so pervasive I’m a multitasker has joined I’m a people person in the list of top meaningless self-descriptions.

The fault, dear humanoid, is not in the handheld device or app, but in ourselves. Do one thing at a time well and avoid rear ending a vehicle or falling on your face.

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