Double Task is fundamental to BI. From its origins in the work of Harold Bridger to our various interpretations of its efficacy in agency, we see the evolution of a really useful theme – making people more reflective, learning people. We would go further and say, making people better people because of reflection.
The need for people to get better at the qualities which make them ‘stand out’ is becoming more apparent. In no area is this more apparent than in the realm of work and the threat of ‘the rise of the machines’. Some people have argued that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make people redundant. We beg to disagree. In a machine-age it might be a good idea to maximise our human advantages – becoming better people. We should not attempt to compete with machines or be anxious about this. Our artefacts are not us.
Why is Double Task (DT) important in this regard? Well, human consciousness has irreducible differences from Artificial Intelligence and we can and should build up on our powers – DT helps us to do this. There remain many differences between computers and people:
Difference # 1: Brains are analogue; computers are digital
Difference # 2: The brain uses content-addressable memory – a kind of “built-in Google,”
Difference # 3: The brain is a massively parallel machine; computers are modular and serial.
Difference # 4: Processing speed is not fixed in the brain; there is no system clock.
Difference # 5 – Short-term memory is not like RAM – short-term memory holds “pointers” to long term memory whereas RAM holds data that is isomorphic to that being held in store.
Difference # 6: No hardware/software distinction can be made with respect to the brain or mind – the mind emerges directly from the brain, and changes in the mind are always accompanied by changes in the brain.
Difference # 7: Synapses are far more complex than electrical logic gates
Difference #8: Unlike computers, processing and memory are performed by the same components in the brain
Difference # 9: The brain is a self-organizing system – the brain is self-repairing something known as “trauma-induced plasticity” occurs after injury”.
Difference # 10: Brains have bodies – the brain “offloads” its memory requirements to the environment in which it exists.
Bonus: The brain is much, much bigger than any [current] computer1
Our brains provide a basis for our consciousness and if we focus on our:
- Analogue capacity to identify and work in flows
- Google like aptitude to associate
- Capacity to parallel process
- Ability to accelerate and respond to conditions
- Systemic memory
- Holism and how this impacts on our consciousness
- Commensurate complexity in relation to a complex world (mirror)
- Combinatorial facility to remember and think
- Potent self-organisation
- Sympathy to our embodied environment
Reflective practice is the key – and this if wonderfully enhanced by DT. In short, DT can help us to maximise our human strengths.
It is very easy for any of us to get ‘lost’ in the tumultuous callings of the world. We get stuck into our survival task and forget what it is that makes any of this matter. The Task behind the Task. The second Task. Interpretation of Tasks 1 and 2 are fluid but for our purposes here think of them as the explicit and the implicit. Double Task helps us to become potent integers in our environment and to make our aspirations materialise and matter.
Bell, S., Mahroum, S. and Yassin, N. (2016). Towards understanding problem structuring and groups with triple task methodology ‘e’. Journal of the Operational Research Society. doi:10.1057/s41274-016-0017-2
Bell, Simon, Berg, Tessa, and Morse, Stephen. (2016) Rich Pictures: Sustainable Development and Stakeholders – The Benefits of Content Analysis. Sust. Dev., 24: 136–148. doi: 10.1002/sd.1614.
Bell, S. and Morse, S. 2013. An Approach to Comparing External and Internal Methods for Analyzing Group Dynamic. Group Dynamics: theory, research and practice. 17, 4, 281 – 298.
Bell, S. and Morse, S. 2010. Triple Task Method: Systemic, Reflective Action Research. Systemic Practice and Action Research. DOI 10.1007/s11213-010-9171-7