Focus

The Ecstasy Of Incomplete Information: Why Knowing Everything Instantly Is Not The Best Thing Ever

Online access to reference materials is amazing. Want info on a movie's cast? imdb.com. Need to know how much money that movie made yesterday? boxofficemojo.com. Then there's Wikipedia. Despite attempts to game the system and despite sometimes overzealous volunteer editors, Wikipedia is an extraordinary source for summary information on nearly any topic, usually with robust citations for those who want to learn more. As we revel in this luxury of ready access to answers, it's worth considering the tradeoffs. Knowing provides closure, but the mystery of not knowing inspires curiosity, wonder and a shared quest for answers. Are we losing the richness of the mystery? Are we corrupting our freedom to even ask those around us what they know? (more…)

By Arthur Coddington, ago
Focus

Unplugged is the New Connected

Most of us have seen this video of a woman so engrossed by texting that she trips into a mall fountain. It's funny. Who is this crazy woman and how could she be so oblivious?!?!?!?!? We'd never ever do anything like that, right? None of us knows a friend who almost walked into a crosswalk against the light. None of us knows anyone who almost walked into a signpost. None of us knows anyone who nearly got into a car accident while being distracted by a cellphone call. And surely none of us knows of anyone whose phone dropped into the toilet because they needed to be connected while pooping. None of that ever happens. Yeah, we're connected. We know all the news Google tells us is important. We can text snarky play by play of our crazy coworkers during meetings. We've got that down to a science. Connection! We can keep up with all the invented controversy around Justin Bieber or be the first to share a meme to friends. Connected! We need to check the Facebook to see how many likes our witty status update got in the last five minutes. We need to do this during meetings, during phone calls, during dinner, during movies. Repeatedly. We need to respond immediately to any alert from our device, just in case it makes us more connected. (more…)