Award-winning filmmaker Tiffany Shlain’s new film, Connected, asks viewers: “Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email? Slept with your laptop? Or become so overwhelmed that you just unplugged from it all?” An eruption of giggles inevitably comes from the audience and a universal blush changes the palate of many faces, illuminated by the glowing screen. We’ve all been there.
That’s why it’s so critical that Shlain has taken her unique mix of vision, creativity, and anthropological prowess to the all-important subject of connectedness in the modern life. Shlain’s own love/hate relationship with technology serves as the backdrop for her cinematic exploration, leading us all to consider what kinds of connections are the most meaningful, and what kinds of connections have, ironically, only increased our sense of alienation. As we come of technological age, how can we be more skillful and more thoughtful in how we use the latest gadgets so as not to diffuse the power of our most fulfilling relationships and work?
We loved having Tiffany, as of late, at the Paley Center, and it’s fitting that she will be talking about relationships at this year’s TEDxWomen, which as you are probably aware, depends on technology to bring a wide variety of people into the growing global circle of women and men who care about the issues we plan to discuss. Last year’s talks were seen 8 million times on TED.com and on TED’s official YouTube channel, and were translated 695 times in 52 different languages, thanks to technology’s capacity to empower everyday citizens to serve one another’s learning.
And perhaps most importantly, TEDxWomen has partnered with organizers from around the world to widen our circle by hosting TEDxWomen events. Learn how to apply to host your own local viewing party and discussion here. As Tiffany reminds us, technology isn’t the problem, it’s how we use it that determines whether it distances or brings us together. Let’s weave the web of the world even tighter on December 1st.