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Recent writing

Published in Front Porch Republic

"Consider, for instance, the undying trend of appending the word 'smart' to names of common items connected to the internet: 'Smart-phone,' 'smart-watch,' 'smart-fridge,' 'smart-home.' The implication is clear. Smart products are for smart people—people who are up-to-date on the latest trends, in the know about remaining relevant in a rapidly changing society. And if you’re not smart, you’re, well … you know ..."

Published in Merion West

"In visual art, negative space draws our eye to particular forms, shapes, and colors. In music, moments of silence heighten our attunement to sound. In conversation, differences in temperament and perspective both shed light and cast shadow, helping us see another’s characteristics in greater relief ..."

Published in Persuasion

"Viewed outside the mechanistic lens of efficiency, this utopian vision feels oddly dystopian. If the digital age—with its outrage-exploiting algorithms and endless streams of 'content'—has taught us one thing, it’s that more technical power doesn’t necessarily mean better alignment with human goals ..."

The case for digital minimalism

Published in Persuasion

"While there’s an undeniable ease-of-use factor to housing a phone, internet browser, entertainment center, camera, and GPS in a lightweight rectangle that fits inside my pocket, the proximity of each of these tasks to one another leads, inevitably, to constant distraction. If you’ve ever tried to find the perfect angle for a photo while your Instagram post is blowing up, or answer a work email while your mom is calling you, you know what I mean ..."

Published on FIRE's Newsdesk

"Reading 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' in 2023 is a clarifying reminder that a healthy culture, like a fruitful garden, needs cultivating. This means examining not only content, but also context. It means digging below the surface of our conversations, tending to the roots that lie beneath ..."

Published on FIRE's Newsdesk

"Can we trust the leaders of our once-venerated institutions to uphold and consistently apply the principles that once earned them widespread respect? Or are policies and their selective enforcement just determined by a giant game of public-pressure tug-of-war? ..."

Published in Persuasion (co-authored with Greg Lukianoff)

"Those who take for granted that hate speech should be policed on Twitter would do well to learn the history of attempts to police hate speech on campuses in the United States. Some readers may be surprised to learn that American universities have attempted to regulate hate speech for four decades now: This real-world experiment has shown how subjective and nebulous restrictions chill speech in often-surprising ways ..."

Published on FIRE's Newsdesk

"Recognizing that minds can be changed with time and through empathy should be a comfort to those who recognize that cancel culture is a problem, yet strongly oppose particular points of view, because it opens the door to a sort of 'cancellation' that doesn’t require coercion or silencing: genuinely convincing someone they’re wrong ..."

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