The tyranny of tiny tasks

I wasn't expecting much from the apple watch announcement, I wore a Basis watch for 9 months and have been wearing the much cuter Android Gear from Samsung. No surprise -- sensors, batterylife, tethered to a phone, what can you do on a watchface...problems are still a cobbled mess. But, I've been looking at all the reviews with great interest this week to see the blogosphere weigh in. And this is the most insightful Seth Feigerman citing Tim Wu in a Mashable article.

"It's the productivity side, I realized after a few hours of thinking, that makes me sweat. I recalled one paragraph in particular that writer Tim Wu published last month in The New Yorker discussing the downside of "convenience technology" like the smartphone:

Our technologies may have made us prosthetic gods, yet they have somehow failed to deliver on the central promise of free time. The problem is that, as every individual task becomes easier, we demand much more of both ourselves and others. Instead of fewer difficult tasks (writing several long letters) we are left with a larger volume of small tasks (writing hundreds of emails). We have become plagued by a tyranny of tiny tasks, individually simple but collectively oppressive. And, when every task in life is easy, there remains just one profession left: multitasking.

2015-02-10 12.52.16The "tyranny of tiny tasks," as Wu called it, may only get more tyrannical if the Apple Watch draws in more developers and users, pushing the smartwatch beyond the early adopter community. Computers shifted us from writing occasional time-consuming letters to writing a mounting number of emails. Smartphones allowed us to fire off an exponentially larger number of emails as well as quicker messages through other applications."

I'm still in the studio making new works built on 'time', the way we feel time, use time and place ourselves solidly in time. Something has shifted, and we're all feeling it.