William Powers: Will This Crisis Make Us Even More Reliant on Digital Connection?
In Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, William Powers, author of Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, discusses how much can happen to culture and technology in a decade—and the similar issues we are still facing today.
From the episode:
William Powers: My book had what I don’t want to call a solution—because it’s not like an all-embracing fix for the many things that are problematic in digital life—but rather in terms of everyday happiness and a sense of being rooted in your own life, which I think we’re often missing because of our screens and how much they dominate our lives. I propose in the book drawing on historical periods and philosophers of the past, (and what they thought of) technology revolutions. I propose that there’s a lot of power in rituals, and that we can have rituals around what we now call screen time, and around our devices—how we live with them, where we live with them, how we access them and how we don’t—that are very simple but can have massive impacts on our lives. I talked about what we call the Internet Sabbaths that we took in my family for five years before I wrote the book, and I think those kinds of ideas are still blossoming and still useful.
Award-winning media critic William Powers has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and McSweeney’s, among other publications. He lives on Cape Cod with his wife, the author Martha Sherrill, and their son.