Not too long ago, my team and I shared on the topic “Social Machines”. The title itself probably sounds pretty self explanatory. So did terms such as “Continuous Partial Attention” and “Continuous Computing”.
Many were confused with how “Continuous Partial Attention” differed from “Multi- Tasking”. We spent quite a bit of time discussing and these were some of the points raised.
1) Positive & Negative Connotations
When the term “Multi-tasking” was introduced, it pretty much had a positive connotation to it, and it’s often related to efficiency. While “Continuous Partial Attention” has a more negative connotation, referring to how we get distracted with multiple inflow of information, thus reducing our concentration levels.
2) CPA is the kind of attention we use today
As Amanda simply put it, “Continuous Partial Attention” happens when information from different sources keeps flowing in. You could be at a conference listening to a presentation while reading articles online. While “Multi-tasking” often involves doing several things at once, not necessarily receiving information from various sources and it requires very little cognitive processing.
3) Result of Multi tasking
In a nutshell, as Leon witty mentioned, “Continuous Partial Attention” can be seen as a side effect to “Multi-tasking”.
Much queries were raised on that day and we had several technical difficulties. But hopefully everyone gained something out of it.
Simplified Learning Points
Continuous computing: Technology integrated in our daily lives through the net
Continuous Partial Attention: Paying partial attention due to constant inflow of information.