Lukas Mathis on Multitasking

Lukas Mathis:

However, the argument that multitasking on computers is bad because humans can’t multitask is flawed. It uses the word “multitasking” in two different ways, but implies that the two kinds of multitasking are somehow the same thing. They’re not: a task (or an app) on a computer, and a task performed by a human don’t map to each other one-to-one. In fact, a single task performed by a human can easily make use of several applications running concurrently on a computer.

Completely agree. This is why I tend to use my iPad for distinct tasks. It’s better than the Mac for things like long-form reading and movie watching, and, for me, perhaps, long-form writing. (I wrote “The Chair” entirely on the iPad, on the flight home from San Francisco.) It’s limiting, though, compared to the Mac, for human tasks that span multiple apps, like the short-form blogging I’m doing right now. I’ve never seen anyone put it so succinctly as Mathis does here: human tasks and computer apps don’t necessarily map one-to-one.

Monday, 7 March 2011