We live in an “ecosystem of interruption technologies”

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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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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

Survivorship bias – lessons from World War Two aircraft

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I don’t know about you, but I spent quite a bit of my Easter fighting in 1940 Western Europe. My teenage daughter, Zoe, playing the Axis powers, made quick work of France. England was standing alone as the German navy massed in the channel. But, even as all seemed lost, and Operation Sealion was underway, the Royal Airforce swung into … Read More

Is Donald Trump a living example of the Dunning Kruger effect?

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Dunning Kruger Effect

Did you see the David Brooks’ op-ed piece in the New York Times over the weekend? Brooks is a conservative columnist, but that didn’t mean he was going to hold back on Donald Trump. He is withering: “Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes … Read More

Your meditation is difficult? It’s still doing you good

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Frustrated with your meditation practice? Ever tried a regular regime of meditation and given up in frustration? You know mindfulness meditation is good for you. You know that it helps fight procrastination as well as makes you less reactive to stress, helps with self control more broadly, and increases your focus. You made a promise to yourself to try ten … Read More

A useful ten minute procrastination “hack”

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Have you ever put off a piece of work because every time you think about it you just get more stressed? A toxic cycle of feeling guilty and stressed holds you paralysed until the night before the thing is due. And then the stress of not delivering the work finally becomes higher than the stress of doing the work, so … Read More