Attention to Detail is Passé and Why it can be a Disaster!

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First it was Miss Universe 2015 and then it was Oscars 2016. Two glaring examples of goof ups at a large public event, one that was probably being witnessed by millions around the globe in real time. I did not remember a similar incident in the last few decades of conscious memory and a quick Google search did not reveal anything either. This made me ponder at the timing of these occurrences. Why only recently? Now, I am not pinning the blame for these incidents to human error alone. Mistakes happen and it is alright. However, we used to have mechanisms to check and cross check things. This simply means more than one person is responsible for one outcome and probability of makin a mistake is minimised. With the tonnes of technological advancement at our disposal, errors should be eliminated. The only logic that makes sense to me is that we are becoming so dependent on technology that we use our own minds lesser and lesser. We are so confident of tech not failing us that we forget that there is some alertness needed to work that tech properly. The laxity in attitudes that results from this is seeping into other areas of our functioning as well.

There was a time before everyone and their uncle had a cell phone that we had a collective land line at home. I knew the numbers of not just my home and dad’s office but also all my friends. I did not need a diary to refer and call them. Since my friends’ parents sometimes answered the phone, they knew me and I knew them. With all kids having cell phones today, so parents know their kids’ friends? You could argue that tech is not solely responsible but has certainly made it tough. No?

Today, when I ask my virtual assistant to set up a reminder, I never check if the alarm was set up properly and promptly forget about the important thing because I know the alarm will sound at the right time. I am terrible at remembering birthdays and while my efforts would sometimes go waste, I used to try and remember those of my friends and family. Now, I simply depend on Facebook to remind me.

Haven’t we all cursed autocorrect at some point due to the bizarre replacements it does? Before autocorrect came along, we typed slower but were more cautious. Now we just go tap tap tap on the keyboard mistyping the words knowing the software will keep correcting the typos on the way. The one it does not get right makes me blame the software but never my carelessness in typing.

Am I not using my brain less and less everyday? And you do know what happens to things that are not used right?

What scares me the most is AI. Yup, Artificial Intelligence. Machine Learning is real and even the scientists who are developing it can not predict what the algorithms will learn and what will the complete extent of their actions due to this learning be. Combine this with a vast majority of humans unwilling to use their minds and what have we got? I am all for technologies to make our lives better but ones that enhance the human race… the route we are going is just making sure that we all think attention to detail is passe and drive down collective intelligence of the human race.

4 thoughts on “Attention to Detail is Passé and Why it can be a Disaster!”

  1. Coincidence I read this on your blog today…I was thinking of the same thing. I rarely remember phone numbers these days. I rely on machines for reminders….what is wrong with us? I think it is time we deliberately exercise our brains…

    1. I would agree… imagine losing your phone when you needed to call someone… especially an unfortunate situation… you’d be helpless!!

  2. I think while the act of actually putting names in the envelopes was manual and had nothing to do with technology, I agree with your premise that we have shorter spans of attention, we are overly dependent on tech and attention to detail is passe! The most common example I come across is the hurry in which people post tweets and sometimes autocorrect fills in their words. Contrary to popular belief, the brevity of media like Twitter makes it harder to communicate well rather than easier.

    And when it comes to high stake, high prestige events that you mentioned, one needs to be very focussed and undistracted to make sure something like this doesn’t happen. And as you’ve rightly pointed out – something like this happening in quick succession in recent times is definitely note worthy. If people working on such high profile events are falling prey to oversight, lesser mortals like us need to be more vigilant.

    1. I completely agree about twitter!! I am not even sure how many mistakes I make… a lot of them on the blog itself… all because it does not matter enough.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Let me know your thoughts :)