This task suspension happens when “a computer user may be drawn to switch from a spreadsheet program to their email application after hearing or seeing an alert about incoming email or receiving an instant message” (Iqbal and Horvitz, 2007). When a computer user stops one task to start another task, the computer user may not return to their suspended task.
They may start another task and another before realizing that they need to complete other tasks that they had already started. It not only happens with applications that are used in the workplace but also devices, for example, the tablets, smart phones, and laptops.
The Multitask Enabler
The society has found itself to be always connected to a constant supply of data but not enough time to process all of it for information that they need. The computer user has been found to be dependent on this connection—constant flow of data. Their dependency, as a 2011 study found, caused them to “have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it” (Sparrow,Liu, and Wegner, 2011).
Since we are always connected to the Internet, another study has found that we “are happy to risk forgetting information [we] can easily find–or find again–online” through our tablets, smart phones, and laptops (Kapersky Lab, 2015). But what happens when your connection is broken? What happens when your smartphone breaks and cannot be repaired? What happens if your tablet needs an upgrade? With some companies, the upgrade or the repair means buying a brand new device. Buying new devices to keep in touch with the multitude of data out there to process into information means that there would be a lot of unusable devices.
Walt Kelly’s “Pogo Possum” cartoon, used on an Earth Day poster in 1970, could be used to describe our situation with these mobile devices. As can be seen in the picture in the following link, “We have met the enemy, and he is us” at http://otegony.com/graphics/Pogo_Earth_Day_1971_poster.jpg.
We have a lot of mobile devices cluttering up our desks, briefcases, and our lives. If they do not work or do not have enough functions, we dispose of (recycle) them. Needless to say, we still become slaves to them due to our workloads in our jobs having us try to do so much in a 24 hour window. We end up depending on our mobile devices. Or do we depend on them and how much? Do you agree that we will become like humans glued to our social media devices in “Wall-e”, a 2008 American computer-animated science-fiction comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures? Please see a scene below.
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