The most fascinating articles and videos I’ve come across this month, while doing research for The Realists:
1. New York Times: “The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected”
It wasn’t long ago that the worry was that rich students would have access to the internet earlier, gaining tech skills and creating a digital divide. Schools ask students to do homework online, while only about two-thirds of people in the U.S. have broadband internet service. But now, as Silicon Valley’s parents increasingly panic over the impact screens have on their children and move toward screen-free lifestyles, worries over a new digital divide are rising. It could happen that the children of poorer and middle-class parents will be raised by screens, while the children of Silicon Valley’s elite will be going back to wooden toys and the luxury of human interaction.
2. The Guardian: “The age of envy: how to be happy when everyone else’s life looks perfect”
[With] the advent of social media, says Ethan Kross, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who studies the impact of Facebook on our wellbeing, “envy is being taken to an extreme”. We are constantly bombarded by “Photoshopped lives”, he says, “and that exerts a toll on us the likes of which we have never experienced in the history of our species. And it is not particularly pleasant.”
3. HBR: “I Ran 4 Experiments to Break My Social Media Addiction. Here’s What Worked.”
Over the last two years, I conducted four different experiments to monitor my own behavior, implementing trackers and blockers in order to better understand how social media usage affected my productivity. My goal was to see if by interrupting my daily behavior I could change my “default settings” and have more time for deep, focused work. In the end, these four experiments opened my eyes about my relationship to social platforms, and taught me effective strategies to maximize the benefit of these social tools while limiting the downsides.
4. WATCH: How Facebook Built a “Surveillance Machine”
The PBS documentary series FRONTLINE will be broadcasting a two-part series on Facebook’s “Surveillance Machine” on Monday October 29th and Tuesday October 30th. I highly recommend you watch its 3 minute teaser on YouTube.
5. Wired: The Next Great (Digital) Extinction
by Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab
For someone like me who saw the power of connection build a vibrant, technologically meshed ecosystem distinguished by peace, love, and understanding, the polarization and hatred empowered by the internet today is like watching your baby turning into the little girl in The Exorcist.
If you have interesting articles or videos to share, please do so in the comment section.