Nujno in malo manj nujno

Moja objava za Obelisk Blog o nujnosti komunikacije:

There’s urgent communication, and there’s one not quite urgent. As any time management book will tell you, every activity in your life can be classified according to both urgency and importance. There’s urgent and not urgent, important and not important (important to you, of course). You might have seen a diagram like this before.

The matrix of importance/urgency. Source: Wikipedia

The main idea is to focus on what’s important to you, and possibly make it not urgent, thus reducing stress in your life.

However, by frantically increasing the number of communication channels, we pave the road for ever greater interruptions and distractions, which ultimately reduces the amount of time we can devote to truly important things.

There’s been some research conducted by NASA on managing interruptions and distractions. Imagine the following scenario: an astronaut is being sent to space to perform a repair. He had to undertake a long training, which possibly required hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was sent to space in a spaceship that costs millions just to move out of the hangar (for instance, the Space Shuttle allegedly burned $450M per flight). A careful ballet of technological and human procedures had to be synchronized without a single glitch.

Finally, the astronaut arrives at the space station, commences with the EVA, grabs the wrench and looks at the problem at hand. This is a culmination of years of effort and requires extreme concentration.

And then he sees this, in his super hi-tech head-up display.

Whose fault is this? The person on the other end of the line has no clue what’s at stake. The astronaut is preoccupied with more important things than worrying about setting redirections, auto-replies and changing Skype status.

This is a hard problem, but solving it is imperative; because everyone of us is that astronaut.  Many things we do represent a culmination of our longtime efforts and sometimes we just don’t want to be disturbed.

We believe that establishing a correct context based on environmental clues is just the right tool for the job. To determine the context of our everyday activities, a lot of information has to be gathered and evaluated. To mention just some of them, we can take a look at the person’s calendar to determine what activities they had scheduled. We can obtain their position and speed using GPS, and determine if they are on the road. And last but not least, we can bring together the everyday things,interconnected into the internet of things, to reveal some insight into what a person is doing and how intrusive a communication attempt should be.