Overcome information overload by tuning the signal to noise ratio

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Information overload

Two weeks ago I talked about information overload and suggested a model to explain it: The model shows two drivers of information overload: The sheer volume of information hitting you. The narrowing of your “processing funnel” due to the fatigue caused by having to deal with this information. In other words, a vicious circle starts to operate where more and … Read More

#Beleave – Did social media win it for the Leave campaign?

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I’ve suspended the series of posts on how technology hijacks our minds for this week, to focus on the Leave win in the UK’s EU referendum. I want to ask whether the Leave campaign won the social media battle and therefore the referendum war. Leave won on Facebook The New York Times has an interesting piece on how the Leave … Read More

The dynamic at the heart of information overload

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This is the fourth part in a series on how technology “hijacks our minds” (to quote Google’s Tristan Harris). You can read part one of the series here. The last three blogs have looked at: How dopamine acts on our brains every time we get a Facebook like or an email update the same way it acts on the brain … Read More

How to stay focused by stopping self-interruptions

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Self-interruption

This is the third part in a series on how technology “hijacks our minds” (to quote Google’s Tristan Harris). You can read part one of the series here. The last two blog posts have focused on how technology can distract and interrupt us. We’ve looked at two key mechanisms: The strong reinforcing effects from social media in particular – where Facebook … Read More

We live in an “ecosystem of interruption technologies”

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Interruption

This is the second part in a series on how technology “hijacks our minds” (to quote Google’s Tristan Harris). You can read part one of the series here. Nicholas Carr, in his fantastic 2010 book The Shallows, describes turning on a computer today as plunging into an “ecosystem of interruption technologies” (p91). Today’s computers and mobile devices play on two deeply embedded vulnerabilities … Read More

Why we adore the technologies that undo our capacities to think

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Why do we adore the technologies that undo our capacities to think?

A client sent me a great article this week on how technology is intentionally designed to capture our attention, interrupt our work, and consume our time. The article is by Tristan Harris, a Google “Design Ethics and Product Philosopher” (whatever the heck that job is, I mean, really…). Anyway, the article served to crystallise a lot of my recent thinking, … Read More

Do we overestimate AI because we underestimate humanity?

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AI

On my dark days I’m in the “AI is an existential threat to humanity” camp. That’s a camp with a whole lot of pedigree. Think Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and now, perhaps, even Tim Ferriss (if his recent musings on Freakonomics are anything to go by). The Terminator movies and TV series are the most enduring telling of this … Read More

Will Trump win the General?

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Donald Trump

Will Donald Trump, now that he is effectively the GOP candidate, win the General Election this November? Well, I’m neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. And this blog is not a political blog, far less a prophetic one. But, this blog is a blog about thinking. And especially about critical thinking. And one of the key skills of critical … Read More

“Prince’s muse … contained multitudes”

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(Photo above – Prince in Brussels in 1986 By Yves Lorson from Kapellen, Belgium – Prince, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4171922) Psychologists describe the years between 15 and 25 as the “reminiscence bulge”. These are the years we will go to when asked to tell stories about ourselves. Between the ages of 15 and 25 you become the person you will be for … Read More