What do Napoleon, Robert Oppenheimer, and Abraham Lincoln have in common (aside from being famous)? Allegedly, they were all horrible multitaskers. In fact, multitasking, or the ability to deal with more than one discrete task at once, is not necessarily something we humans were ever naturals at.
As I write this exactly at 10:40 on April 15, I instinctually feel like there’s some important deadline I’m missing, a day where I feel should have already done something. Is it someone’s birthday or an anniversary? Do I need to get an oil change? No, it’s the traditional tax filing deadline in the US.
While this year’s news has been dominated by politics and pandemics, there may have been a universe-shattering discovery made in the world of physics—one that may realign the very way we think about forces of nature. ‘Now this isn’t the usual e-sign, e-security chit chat,’ you may think to yourself. Yes, this week on Tech Essentials, we will be dealing with the nature of the universe itself, so say with me “whoa!” in your best Keanu Reeves voice.
There is growing debate about the extent to which content platforms are responsible for the content third parties create and distribute. As I write this, the US Congress is holding a hearing about whether Facebook, Twitter and Google should be held liable for the unsavory posts and other controversial content they distribute.
Over the last decade or so, you’ve no doubt heard just about any appliance or electronic device marketed as being ‘smart’. We all know now about smart phones, and there are also refrigerators and dryers that are smart as well. As recently as three years ago, we began to hear about smart cars, headphones and even shoes, making the term ‘smart’ a victim of the same hype we saw in the 90’s with the term, ‘extreme’ (or later ‘Xtreme!’).
Welcome to Tech Essentials’ 2nd installment of our thought exercise on media bias. (This relates to “Tech Essentials” as many are viewing their “news” through online “opinion” blogs). If you recall from last week, we were outlining tactics (mentioned in this article) that leverage bias to get your attention through online media distribution, tactics which often translate to ad revenue growth.
If there’s one thing you should know about me (in addition to being obsessive about e-sign and e-security), it’s that I’m a proud parent. Recently, I was at the dinner table engaging in a lively debate with my daughter about current events, and I was thrilled at how she could piece together a cogent argument. Her logic was impeccable, and her presentation was compelling. However, when I asked her how she knew her facts were true, I got: “because I heard it on YouTube and TikTok!”. Another gem: “I read it on xyz blog.”
We at Tech Essentials had been hoping to have at least a one-week respite from any talk of COVID, and we were sooo close this week…until I saw an article about a British mathematician who calculated that, based on there being two quintillion virus particles with an average diameter of 100 billionth of a meter, all the COVID in the world could easily fit into one (empty) can of soda. That’s right. The source of all the world’s misery over the last 12+ months could all be fit into a common item probably on your home-office desk right now.
The German philosopher, Hegel, wrote (and I’m paraphrasing here) that history is merely a never-ending series of reactions to reactions. Once a thing is done, there is an inevitable reaction to it and then a reaction to that and so on.
A year ago, there was a sudden “shock” to the world that caused mass disruption in people’s normal routines, forcing an uncomfortable behavioral change for most. This pandemic-induced shift to an isolated work-from-home (WFH) routine should become a shibboleth once vaccines flow freely. But perhaps it wont. Over the course of the last year, we’ve all acclimated to our new routines, comfy chairs, lounging in between “meetings”, kids-play at odd hours of the day, work-from-anywhere with a hot-spot connection… not too bad (assuming your profession or business was not too negatively impacted). This acclimation may be the reason why the way we work may have genuinely been transformed — permanently and in ways we’re just beginning to understand. To shift “back” to office parks, we’ll need an equally dramatic and “opposite shock” (i.e. an over-abundance of COVID babies disrupting home workspace, or who knows what.)