Kategoriarkiv: Sidetracked

Är de digitalt infödda bättre på att hantera avbrott och multitasking? (Omöjliga åsikter #2)

”Teknik och skärmar håller på att skapa en förlorad generation, som ytterst inte kommer att kunna hantera livet utan hela tiden distraheras och förlora sig i ny teknik. De stora nätinnovatörerna sätter minsann sina egna barn i Montessoriskolor, och våra barn kommer att fara illa av all denna teknik – vi måste minska skärmtiden.”

Så ungefär ser konsensus ut. Tänk nu om det gick att visa att inte bara hanterar den uppväxande generationen avbrott och multitasking bra, utan att den också blir betydligt sämre kognitivt i en miljö där det inga avbrott ges och ingen multitasking är omöjlig — att de digitalt infödda helt enkelt har anpassat sig kognitivt till den nya tekniken — skulle någon då lyssna på detta?

Tanken att tekniken distraherar och att barn far illa av skärmtid är så djupt rotad att den knappast går att utmana alls idag. Därför är det också rätt intressant att läsa denna forskningsrapport:

Results, published in the journal Applied Neuropsychology: Adult, indicate that there is no need to ”pardon these interruptions,” at least for this younger generation.

Findings show that switching between technologies did not deplete or diminish performance in the group that had the IT interruptions compared to the control group or the group that did not receive IT interruptions. Unexpectedly, however, researchers discovered diminished performance in the participants from the group that did not receive any IT interruptions.

All three groups reported low levels of anxiety during the study. Seventy-five percent of two of the groups reported their anxiety as ”not at all” or ”a little bit,” and the researchers did not find any significant differences between groups.

”We were really surprised to find impaired performance in the group that did not receive any information technology interruptions. It appears that the Net Generation thrives on switching their attention and they can do it more efficiently because information technology is woven throughout their daily lives,” said Mónica Rosselli, Ph.D., senior author, professor and assistant chair of psychology in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and a member of the FAU Brain Institute (I-BRAIN), one of the University’s four research pillars. ”Because younger generations are so accustomed to using instant messaging, pop-ups like the ones we used for our study, may blend into the background and may not appear surprising or unplanned, and therefore may not produce anxiety.”

Det är onekligen en tankeställare för den som predikat skärmfrihet och begränsningar i tekniken — kanske skulle det (och de teknikentreprenörer som sätter barnen i Montessoriskolor) helt enkelt leda till att dessa barn hamnar i ett underläge till alla de barn som lärt sig att hantera den nya tekniken? Ingen skulle väl drömma om att inte lära sitt barn skriva?

Hjärnan förändras, utvecklas och anpassar sig till den totala teknik- och kultursfär vi befinner oss i, och trots att det är populärt att hävda att hjärnan inte förändrats på 10 000 år, så är det uppenbart falskt när det handlar om dess kognitiva förmåga. Enkla sanningar om teknik och människa bör nog alltid misstros.

En forskningsrapport gör dock ingen uppseendeväckande omvändning i debatten, men den ger anledning att sakta upp och fundera på om vår förståelse kanske måste nyanseras i alla fall?

Evolution vs thermodynamics

It is an old point, it turns out, that the scope of evolution seems arbitrarily determined if we think of the process as one that only occurs in what we call the biosphere. If we, instead, argue that evolution should be thought of as a principle that applies to everything, unless a determination of scope can be reasonably proven, we end up with a far more interesting universe.

I thought this idea was fairly recent (See Smolin & Kauffman), but it turns out that Chauncey Wright was on to the same idea back in the late 1900th century in his Philosophical Discussions.

It seems tricky to reconcile with the second law of thermodynamics, is all. But it feels right. The conclusion then seems to be that the universe is not an isolated physical system. Oh, ok, then. (I will leave the question of what the universe is as an exercise for the reader.)

On that note, though, Chauncey Wright is a really interesting figure. I especially like his observation that we should compare systems we are trying to predict with the weather to try to gauge if they are as complex as or more complex than the weather. If so, we should expect the same success. He ends his long essay on the weather by doubling back and using his observations to discuss human nature:

Man finds himself everywhere mirrored in nature. Wayward, inconstant, always seeking rest, always impelled by new evils, the greatest of which he himself creates, – protecting and cherishing or blighting and destroying the fragmentary life of a fallen nature, incapable himself of creating new capacities, but nourishing in prosperity and quickening in adversity those that are left, – he sees the workings of his own life in the strife of the elements. His powers and activities are related to his spiritual capacities, as inorganic movements are related to an organizing life. The resurrection of his higher nature is like a new creation, secret, sudden, inconsequent. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit”.

Are we more or less complex than the weather? The answer to that question should have consequences for our worldview.