How long have you gone without checking your phone in the past week? Ten, 15, maybe 20 minutes while you’re awake? Our screens have commandeered our eyeballs and taken hold of our lives. Our phones buzz constantly with notifications, even when we intentionally move devices off the dinner table, away from our bedsides, and out of sight.
Ten years ago, before smartphones had even become mainstream, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain felt like something was askew in her life—and believed that technology had something to do with it. So she and her family instituted a “tech Shabbat,” one day a week when they refused to use any form of modern technology. It involved installing landlines, printing out maps, and actually looking one another in the eye during dinner conversations, but a decade later Shlain has determined that the benefits of consciously disconnecting outweigh the short-term sense of accomplishment we get from being on our phones.
Shlain joins this week’s Gadget Lab podcast to talk about her evolving relationship with technology and the process of stepping away from filmmaking to write a full-length book.
Show Notes:You can read Peter’s exclusive story about the PlayStation 5 console here. Lily Newman’s story about Twitter’s usage of your phone number for ad targeting is here. And for fun, you should read Boone Ashworth’s story about the big lure of tiny keyboards.
Recommendations:Peter recommends Marvel Puzzle Quest, a mobile game that’s also available on PCs. Arielle recommends Fleishman Is in Trouble, a novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Lauren recommends the Ask Molly newsletter, written by Heather Havrilesky, who is also the author of Ask Polly.
Lauren Goode can be found at @LaurenGoode. Tiffany Shlain is @tiffanyshlain. Arielle Pardes is @pardesoteric. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Boone Ashworth, who edited the show, can be found at @booneashworth. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
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social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/story/gadget-lab-podcast-426