Is Tech Making Us Miserable?
Modern life has provided us with many comforts: we live longer; have ubiquitous access to information and entertainment; and by almost every metric are more ‘prosperous’. So much so that the rest of the world seemingly wants to emulate the ‘prosperous’ Western model. Then why are we so unhappy?
Technology has always had a differential effect in society; it can benefit some at enormous cost to many. However the technology that has built this prosperity might be doing something terrible to us. Scholars such as Sherry Turkle, Tristan Harris, Jaron Lanier and others have sounded the alarm about the dangers of technology and the toll it takes upon our health, happiness, and sense of meaning and belonging in the world. Despite a prevailing sense that technology is ‘bad’, there exists a gulf between evidence and practice: if these dangers are as real as some suggest, how do we catalyze a healthier and more equitable relationship to technology?
In a bid to make customers more conscious of their consumption companies such as Apple have introduced tools such as Screen Time to let users self-regulate their relationship with technology. But what constitutes a ‘healthy’ relationship with technology? How much screen time is too much? This interdisciplinary talk draws insights from educational theory, psychology, law and social policy, among others, to synthesize these issues and explore what might be possible to achieve.
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