Has an easy
undo feature trained us to work at high-speed but low focus?
When it’s always easy to undo and correct, there’s no reason to focus on getting things right, or even thinking things through before doing them.
Handwriting (or typing on a typewriter) a document meant being focused on the task because any mistakes meant ugly cross marks or rewriting the page.
Similarly, working with physical objects – in a carpentry class in college, or cooking a simple dish – required strong focus. A wrong cut in a wood slab meant a wasted slab or a hacked joint. A dish could end up overcooked or unsalted.
But when working on a computer, any errors due to a lack of attention can easily be rectified with a simple undo, removing the need for full focus in the moment.
As we (I) spend more of our time—work and leisure—on computers, we may have trained ourselves to expect the
undo feature everywhere.
This mental training (‘all errors are undoable’) creeps into our non-computer activities and interactions. We may be forgetting to stay fully focused in the moment, to think ahead (before we speak/do), and thus may be becoming more inefficient/incapable than before.
Related: The use-and-throw (disposable) product culture may be the perfect physical accompaniment to our Ctrl+Z generations. If we mess up something due to not paying attention when using it, we can just throw it in the bin and get a new one.
Whereas a couple of decades ago, if we messed up something, we had to either use it like that (uncomfortable) or repair it (more work).