Losing Our Mind to Technology

This sermon from yesterday includes pretty much up all of my favourite topics: technology, cognitive psychology, and theology.  Check it out at the Meeting House Teaching page , #5 under Rage Against the Machine in 2011.  I love when Bruxy talks psychology because he does a really cool job of connecting those two domains which I enjoy so much. The main points:

  • The human brain cannot actually multitask.  The best we can do is switch back and forth really quickly.
  • Nobody can perform tasks faster when multitasking than if we did them sequentially.
  • Even leaving up chat windows or the cell phone beside us, waiting for a notification, creates stress on our brain as we are in a constant state of waiting and checking for that notification.  This constant stress further reduces our cognitive abilities long-term.
  • We read a screen differently than we do a book – more volume but less depth so we don’t actually remember most of it.  I’m curious where e-Book readers fit into this.
  • Some good practices to be more productive and more able to focus, including on God: turn off your cell phone, go for a walk without an MP3 player or a cellphone, close windows or programs on your computer that you aren’t using, replace texts and emails with face to face or at least phone calls as much as possible, finish one task before starting the next, don’t channel surf but only use the TV when you know there’s something on you want to watch (ie don’t let watching TV be the point of the activity), take a Sabbath from technology.

I thought this summed it up well:

“We are willing to trade depth for efficiency, but in the end, we have neither.”

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.