Unitasking is becoming a lost art, and the art of conversation may also be dying with it. We have become so accustomed to multitasking enabled by omnipresent technology that we may have lost the ability to reflect silently on what is happening to us and around us as we lead our daily lives. Please don’t interpret this as a call to join a monastery or withdraw from our inter-connected world. I think that the loss of some of these inter-personal skills might reflect some unintended consequences of ubiquitous technology.
The “app generation” may be less patient than its predecessors, expecting that the world will act like algorithms: certain actions will lead to predictable results. And these results should be imminent and not require some possible discussion of differences with people, online and off. Extended face-to-face conversations with friends, family may also be disappearing from our everyday existence. But perhaps the greatest loss of not engaging in these conversations on an ongoing basis (telephones can still help with this) is our own diminished ability to empathize with others.
Some research has shown that we can still recover from our technology dependencies. We can always make time for corrections and remember who we are – “creatures of history, of deep psychology, of complex relationships, of conversations, artless, risky and face to face.”