This New York Times piece comes along at just the right time. Last night I was at a dinner party for ten. Three guests (all adults over 30) kept their noses buried in their smartphones the entire evening, including while eating, with one of the guests holding on to her device all evening like it was a pacifier. The conversation was dull, boring and exceedingly superficial, and I sat secretly wishing that something—an earthquake, car crash, anything—would occur to trigger some genuine human response and interaction. After reading this piece I am calling for a new trend in real life social gatherings: hosts should wire all the chairs so that every time people start to disconnect and get stupid they can receive an electrical shock to pull them out of their stupor. It may just get people back to basic human connectedness. At the very least it will make for some great Vine and YouTube uploads.
MIT faculty member highlights the way that we have allowed technology to run interference in even our most basic skills for connecting, communicating, and just being…
New York Times
We turn time alone into a problem that needs to be solved with technology. Timothy D. Wilson, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, led a team that explored our capacity for solitude. People were asked to sit in a chair and think, without a device or a book. They were told that they would have from six to 15 minutes alone and that the only rules were that they had to stay seated and not fall asleep. In one experiment, many student subjects opted to give themselves mild electric shocks rather than sit alone with their thoughts.