Turn On, Boot Up, Drop Out?

Question: Will the Web ever fundamentally reshape our social interactions? 

Nicholas Christakis: Well I mean ask yourself, I mean do you think that we are different in our sociality after the invention of the telephone as before? You know we’ve only had a telephone for a hundred years. Are we a completely different species than the Victorians? You know, do we have different desires? Are we… No. And now can we communicate more efficiently, transact business and so forth? Yes. And what is also ironic and we discuss this in the book is the ways in which when the telephone was invented and introduced all the same kind of concerns about you know the spread of inappropriate information or people predating on other people or the intrusiveness of the technology. You know the quietness of the dinner hour would be interrupted by the phone ringing off the hook. All of those concerns were articulated just like we talk about the Internet now. And so completely acknowledge that it’s astonishing what the Internet offers. I just am not convinced that the Internet fundamentally is changing how we think or how we really interact with each other. It’s giving us additional ways of interacting, but I don’t think it fundamentally changes friendship, romance, love, violence, all these very deeply human traits.

Recorded March 31, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

When the telephone was invented, there were similar fears that human interaction would suffer, but neither it, nor the internet, changes fundamentally human traits like love and friendship.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Physicists puzzled by strange numbers that could explain reality

Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.

Surprising Science
  • Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
  • The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
  • Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less