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Updated: Apr 29, 2022

100 years of progress or maybe not, morning paper to 12 hours of screen time taking in 5 times more information than 50 years ago amidst a decline in learning.

The Gorilla in the room that would make our lives so much more productive is a smart interface to our smart device applications. Think of it as Google Assistant on steroids or a Siri executive secretary, almost freeing you from checking your smart device at all.

Information Overload Does Not Make You Smarter

Taking in more and more information makes us smarter, right ? Not true. All we are doing is experiencing, understanding and immediately forgetting most information without any deep analytical thought connections that creates a learning experience because we are too busy taking in more information. Research tells us:

Early data from a landmark National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that began in 2018 indicates that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests, and some children with more than seven hours a day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain's ... Forbes | Nicole F. Roberts | Jan 24, 2019

There is also some evidence that children who watch a lot of television during the early elementary school years perform less well on reading tests and may show deficits in attention.”— Dr. Jennifer Cross

What's a healthy amount of screen time for adults? Experts say adults should limit screen time outside of work to less than two hours per day. Any time beyond that which you would typically spend on screens should instead be spent participating in physical activity.

A few years ago, the average screen time for adults in the United States landed at 11 hours per day. Since lockdown, this number has gone up to an astonishing 19 hours per day on screens during the pandemicAre you wondering where your screen time falls compared to the rest of the nation? If your phone, computer or tablets are set to send you weekly screen time reports, you may have an idea of just how many hours you clock in with your eyes locked on a device. About 30 percent of adults say that they're online almost constantly. - Reid Health.

Most of the studies are done on children and not adults, but don't you think adult results would be the same. The number one smart phone app downloaded and screen time used is either Facebook or Tik Tok. Users of either one will sit for long periods of time, over an hour and eagerly click for that next post, that additional information, connection, feeling or entertainment that we are all hungering for. "Just one more" is where our mind goes as we finish reading a post, just one more. Soon an hour or two is gone and we learned little and produced nothing. You pass the time with Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and/or one of many other apps but did it ever actually add any value to your life?

Comment posted by Stuto, at 10:16 12 Jan Stuto 10:16 12 Jan
We have devices that help us communicate more efficiently than ever in all of human history, yet ultimately it's kept us apart more than it's brought us together.

Sometimes it's worth putting the phone down and living in the moment, or one day you'll turn 70 and wonder what you did your whole life.

You pass the time with TikTok or Instagram but did it ever actually add any value to your life?

According to a survey conducted in February 2021, nearly half of the respondents stated that on average they spent five to six hours on their phone on a daily basis, not including work-related smartphone use. A further 22 percent of respondents said that they spent three to four hours on average on their phone daily. Just five percent of the surveyed users said they spent less than an hour a day on their smartphone. As of the end of 2020, 18 percent of respondents reported not limiting their use of mobile apps or services at all.

If you still have doubts about information overload and the need for automated help, or you want to know more about the limits of our brain, about 120 bits per second, to process huge amounts of information, see the article - Why It's So Hard To Pay Attention, Explained By Science.

Mini Conclusion

We need an intelligent layer(AI), widget or app, of software between us and the humanly large mass of data our "smart devices" are feeding us daily.

Interruptions Kill Productivity and the Deep Learning, Creative Process

According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task” after an interruption or stoping to check your smart phone. The first thing some people do upon waking in the morning is checking their smart phone. Studies have consistently shown that your deepest thought and concentration, focus, is not achievable after as few as 2 interruptions per day, your IQ lowers by at least 10 points.

During my 35 year career I woke up every morning at 3 AM, work by 4 AM where I sat quietly with my cup of coffee and deep dive creative thinking; there was usually an ongoing list of things on my mind that needed to be done. Some layer of my brain had been at work, while I slept, working on solutions that I would carefully document and plan to execute. With the first interruption of the morning, 7 to 8 AM, the deep dive productive focus would end and I would spend the rest of my day, till 7-8 PM, implementing solutions and defining new things to do a deep dive on in the next cycle.

And if you thought that the amount of time you spend on email—1/3 of your office hours —was bad, this isn’t going to make you feel better and many spend 50% of their time at home on line processing emails.
Recent surveys suggest that not only is this the first thing most of us do upon waking, but that we go on to check our phones every eight to 12 minutes throughout the day. Assuming each distraction takes about five minutes, followed by another five minutes to get back on task, in the space of an eight-hour work day, we interrupt our brains from what we are doing for two hours of those eight. That’s a lot of distraction. Researchers and mental health professionals are warning us that these persistent distractions have a downside; they have seriously eroded our ability to concentrate, and that’s a big problem. A 2005 study by London’s Institute of Psychiatry found that persistent interruptions and distractions at work had a profound effect on individual productivity. And things have not improved in the 13 years since that study.This Is Insane: You Spend 1/3 of Your Time in the Office Checking EmailDo Minds Ever Meet Anymore?

Do Minds Ever Meet Anymore?

Before you can think about it, here comes more data to consider. The days of consensus agreement and compromise are gone. There is mostly disagreement and more subjective opinion data. The days of objective facts a product of thinking and debate are gone. We are left with lots of data and no thinking and productive accomplishments. I wrote another article recently,

Profundity of the Future

Could it be that we have been getting it all wrong. We have been thinking that smart devices are tools that humans use to do knowledge work. Maybe we should have been looking at smart devices that do knowledge work for us. Instead of us trying to drink from a fire hose of data and opinions, let us drink from a glass of supported objective information to base our Knowledge on.

In 1916, the time of the picture above we were in the middle of a period where manual labor was experiencing what would become a 50X productivity improvement. When smart devices, the internet, email, databases and the cloud came along we expected another at least 50X improvement in knowledge work productivity. This did not happen. Michael Simmons researched and wrote about the Process of Productivity.


I am publishing a series of articles analyzing my one big startup success searching for the reasons, the mental model, that explains my success. My belief is that the mental model that worked in 1989 would work in 2022. The purpose of this series of articles is to test my belief. I invite you to follow if you are interested.

The next article will be the last one in which we will discuss The Real Conclusion.

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