New technologies and artificial intelligence are either decried or revered, depending on whom you talk to. They can worsen or enhance students’ attention and cognitive performance. They can hinder or improve young people’s mental well-being. As a promising tool for personalized learning, they can also be abused to exert control. New technologies can foster equal opportunities for education and improve quality of life, or they can amplify social divisions.
If the positive scenarios are to prevail, we need to understand the changes that are taking place and ensure that those changes have a positive effect. Two researchers who are looking closely at these issues are Daphne Bavelier and Amy Ogan. On January 23, 2020, they joined an engaged audience and a highly skilled moderator, Olivia Kühni, at the KOSMOS cultural center in Zurich to examine this question: In the future, how will we use technology to change our brains and behaviors? The discussion was refreshingly nuanced and, in the words of Olivia Kühni, went beyond visions of utopia or apocalypse.
Bridging the gap between the researchers and individuals who are working daily to promote young people’s development is part of BOLD’s mission; this is why we attach great importance to facilitating exchanges both on- and offline.
The discussion forum with Daphne Bavelier and Amy Ogan, under the heading of “Optimizing Humans,” was the second public event jointly organized by KOSMOS and the Jacobs Foundation. The event was broadcast live and is now also available here (see video above).
Illustration: Shamanthi Rajasingham
Video: Marc David Nathmann