I recall my first year as a professor at Lake Forest College (2001), where a single student spoke on her bulky cell phone as she walked across the quad. I would hold my hand to my ear as I passed her as if I were talking, a joke we shared.
Timothy Leary popularized the saying, "Turn on, tune in, and drop out," during the 1960s. But as our electronic devices threaten to overwhelm our relationships, our senses, and our peace of mind, I suggest a new one for the foreseeable future
Do you remember the shock wave in January 2009 that shook the media world when a tweet broke the hard news story that a plane had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River? That's social media in action.
We may be inclined to think, naively, our society as a whole is increasing its efficiency by eliminating the instances that bring about small talk, but this part of daily existence is more important than we could imagine.
The Circle joins Gary Shteyngart's hilarious Super Sad True Love Story in its prediction of the kind of world we might get to live in if we continue to outsource our data and decisions about it to Silicon Valley's technocrats.
Whether we enter a robot utopia, a robot smog or somewhere in between, we will close the gap between robotically aware and organically alive. Do we create new life forms, as Jansens suggests of his progeny?
Technology is wonderful -- I'm a big advocate of its strengths. At the same time, we're just in the courting stages with it, feeling it out and learning what the best way to relate to it is. In doing this, we can develop greater "screen sense."
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is quite different from FONBATR, the Fear of Never Being Able to Retire, which is an affliction many of the 50-plus-year-olds attending this ideas festival/policy-wonk conference are experiencing. But it doesn't mean we don't experience FOMO, too.
No one expects a teenager to suddenly be hailed as the next Mozart or Martin Scorsese. But, as three films screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival clearly demonstrate, an impressive new generation of filmmakers is starting to deliver some very exciting work.
One of the wonderful things about teaching through conversation is that we get to help our students unplug from the inputs they have customized to reinforce their own tastes, expectations and identities.
By letting technology into our lives in an unbounded fashion, we are not only losing the art of conversation, we are losing our emotional lives. The answer is putting the technology in its place. It is time for all of us to unplug for one day.