Big Tech is Flooding Your Senses & Stealing Your Attention - Fight Back! with Dr. Thomas Hills
In this episode we discuss information overload. How do you deal with a world where there is a constant and overwhelming stream of noise. How do you filter and decide what to pay attention to? How can you determine what’s worth your precious time and attention? What should you do with information that you disagree with? In a world full of more and more information, this interview with Dr. Thomas Hills explores the solution that will help you finally deal with information overload.
Dr. Thomas Hills is a professor of Psychology at the University of Warwick. His research involves using algorithmic approaches to understanding the human condition through language, wellbeing, memory, and decision making. He is a current fellow of the Alan Turing Institute and the Director of the Bridges-Leverhulme Doctoral Training Centre. He also, co-directs Warwick's Global Research Priority in Behavioural Science and his works have been published in numerous academic journals.
• What is Information Overload?
• This is a phenomenon that has crept into our lives and yet it’s gone largely unnoticed - we’ve had to outsource the information filtering in some way
• There’s so much information that we have to outsource the filtering process in some way - either to other people, experts, thought leaders, or algorithms
• Dr. Hill’s research began from studying how we make tough choices across hugely complex fields, beginning with things like how children learn language
• The question we have to ask ourselves - what’s the best way to go about dealing with something like information overload?
• Whether we are looking at religion or even something as simple as the food you eat - you have the same problem
• People only look for information that supports their existing beliefs and that is “incredibly dangerous.”
• We only know the language/vocabulary of our past experiences - and that’s what we begin with to filter out our understanding of the world
• People tend to have very similar reactions to similar situations - learn from the experiences of similar people
• You must look for people who have done or experienced what you want to understand and learn from them - case studies and base rates
• It’s essential to seek out the beliefs and ideas from those you disagree with
• There is an infinite amount of information around you - your brain can’t process all of it and is forced to filter out certain experiences and events
• What is an attentional bottleneck? How does it shape our understanding of reality?
• What is negativity bias? How does the innate, evolutionary bias baked into our brain cause us to focus on things that are negative
• It’s really important to ask yourself - WHAT AM I BIASED ABOUT?
• If you’re not getting outside of your box, your safety zone, you’re getting dumber.
• By exposing yourself to other people’s criticism you get smarter
• You have to be willing to be wrong about something to get more right about it
• Ask yourself - how might I be wrong? Why might I be wrong? Try to harness the wisdom of the crowd in your own head
• Homework: If you know ahead of time what it is you want out of your relationship with reality and what it takes to get there.
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