Do you sleep with your iPhone? Check your work email at the beach? We talk with filmmaker and Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain about her new documentary “Connected,” which explores our complex relationship with technology.

Tiffany Shlain’s ‘Connected’ 15 September,2011forum

Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker, Webby Awards founder, co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and a Henry Crown fellow at The Aspen Institute

  • Angela Orr

    I was one of the lucky ones who met Ms. Shlain at the Sundance Film Festival. I’m a Geography professor at a Bay Area community college who teaches students about the interconnections between *everything*–people and places, events and physical phenomena–and can’t wait to integrate Connected into my curriculum. Can Ms. Shlain please share with the audience her recommendations for doing so in the most engaging way?

    If only the concept of interdependence were to take hold globally, we might learn to think of the Big Picture (the way geographers do) before we act…or allow others to act in our names.

    Thank you for a wonderful program!

  • Mrbgibbs

    A pet-peave about connectedness: people that walk down the street staring down at their tiny screens, not watching where they’re going, but also seemingly failing to take in the physical world, make eye contact, or simply look up in the sky.

  • Derek Powazek

    Creating technology is the defining characteristic of being human. The technology we create makes us more human, not less.

    • Rufus

      So the machine gun made us more human?

  • Fay

    What your missing is the TIME-WASTING factor and bringing it with you,
    unlike TV. I work at in the dotcom gulch of SouthPark in the City, where
    I see daily,  streams of younger people stepping outside into the
    lovely park to immediately whip out their phones and prattle on. Sorry,
    but to me it’s ‘mental masturbation’. And the difference between too
    many hours of watching TV as a kid, is that the TV stayed home; the TV
    was not carried around with you as a cellphone is. So portability and
    ready access to the e-drug is the key difference and what makes
    constantly checking for updates a negative, time wasting pursuit. Unsaid
    is how it becomes mandatory to keep up with one’s peers, lest one be
    left out of dubiously ‘important developments’ like gossip on the old
    party telephone line.

    The City

  • Jack

    My “connectedness” with Tiffany has come through her father, Leonard Shlain, whose two books, “Art and Physics” and “The Goddess and the Alphabet.”  I believe she was mentioned at the beginning of the former book as the very reason the book was written. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Shlain at a reading at Keplers in Menlo Park. I asked him about the impact of the internet on society, and had a most interesting comments from him.

    Jack Phillips, Atherton

  • Ssysippee

    Speaking of how interconnectivity confuses things:  This from the John Muir page of Sierra Club:

    John Muir Misquoted:
    Misquote Alert: “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”  The site gives examples of what he did say….guess that’s how the internet can “right” the wrongs.

  • Jack

    I was wondering about her father’s influence on her. . . 

    Sorry if this was discussed earlier; I tuned in late.


  • Pat Gregorian

    You have not addressed the negative physical aspects of technology….brain tumors (Finns have done studies), “thumb problems” using a BB, eye strain, the toxins that are in computers etc…

  • JoeTemuco

    In being more “connected” at the supra level—assuredly a positive thing—are we starting not to be completely “here” but always, increasingly, “there?”

  • Inaki Tekalal

    There was mention of anonymity and a name attached to something adding weight. I would agree that attaching a name gives a post weight, but which name it is is less important. I am not using the name on my ID, but I am using the name my friends, family, co-workers, and even Google has known me by for the last decade. Am I still posting anonymously? Am I still hiding?

  • cyberskeptic

    Ms. Shlain holds herself up as an example of how watching TV non-stop as a kid doesn’t necessarily detriment one’s intellect and personality. But, I found her commentary on the show today to be mostly trite and superficial, and marked by giggling. She seems to be a technology booster, giving little depth to her critique of the role of technology in shaping our lives. The critique thus comes off as a fake, to me at least.

    Does she really think that the Internet needs a booster? Her tendency to laud the Internet must be seen in light of the fact that it has made heroes of her and many other people whose ideas would never have gotten significant circulation in the past due to their lack of substance.

    • Marian Wolfe

      I also listened to part of this discussion and felt that the guest’s comments were superficial.  I missed the beginning, so didn’t know who was being interviewed.  What is the big deal about supeficial connectivity?

    • Rufus

      I found her to be rather vapid. She comes off as a rich kid who always had a silver spoon in her mouth. Maybe I’m wrong…

  • rentaissanceman

    We are so ignorant. I am reminded of the recent Terry Gross interview with
    Mr. CHARLES MANN (Author, “1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created”). He explained the upheaval caused by Columbus and those that followed, in the plant, animal and human kingdoms, caused not only by the things they knew they carried with them, but by the things they did not know came with them. Today, we use radio wave propagation continually, yet we do not fully understand it. It could have side effects we are nowhere near understanding. I use technology as best I can, but I do wonder what long term side effects there will be that we are completely ignorant of at this time?  Like Greenspan testifying to congress after the 2008 economic debacle, paraphrasing, “I had no idea business would take actions that were not in their own self interests.” The “smartest” people available to us can’t comprehend the consequences of their actions. We are addicted to what I call the “low hanging fruit” concept of business and survival.

  • Rufus

    I don’t have an iPhone and I don’t want one. I have a $30 prepaid phone.

    I do however have an iPad and I find it greatly enhances my life, however it does not have cellular capability so I am not burdened by 24/7 internet.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor