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Do you ever wonder why we're surrounded with things that help us do everything
faster and faster and faster?
Communicate faster,
but also work faster, bank faster,
travel faster, find a date faster,
cook faster, clean faster and do all of it all at the same time?
How do you feel about cramming even more into every waking hour?
Well, to my generation of Americans,
speed feels like a birthright.
Sometimes I think our minimum speed is Mach 3.
Anything less, and we fear losing our competitive edge.
But even my generation is starting to question
whether we're the masters of speed
or if speed is mastering us.
I'm an anthropologist at the Rand Corporation,
and while many anthropologists study ancient cultures,
I focus on modern day cultures and how we're adapting
to all of this change happening in the world.
Recently, I teamed up with an engineer, Seifu Chonde, to study speed.
We were interested both in how people are adapting to this age of acceleration
and its security and policy implications.
What could our world look like in 25 years
if the current pace of change keeps accelerating?
What would it mean for transportation,
or learning, communication,
manufacturing, weaponry
or even natural selection?
Will a faster future make us more secure and productive?
Or will it make us more vulnerable?
In our research, people accepted acceleration as inevitable,
both the thrills and the lack of control.
They fear that if they were to slow down,
they might run the risk of becoming obsolete.
They say they'd rather burn out than rust out.
Yet at the same time,
they worry that speed could erode their cultural traditions
and their sense of home.
But even people who are winning at the speed game
admit to feeling a little uneasy.
They see acceleration as widening the gap between the haves,
the jet-setters who are buzzing around,
and the have-nots,
who are left in the digital dust.
Yes, we have good reason to forecast that the future will be faster,
but what I've come to realize
is that speed is paradoxical,
and like all good paradoxes,
it teaches us about the human experience,
as absurd and complex as it is.
The first paradox is that we love speed,
and we're thrilled by its intensity.
But our prehistoric brains aren't really built for it,
so we invent roller coasters and race cars and supersonic planes,
but we get whiplash, carsick,
jet-lagged.
We didn't evolve to multitask.
Rather, we evolved to do one thing with incredible focus,
like hunt -- not necessarily with great speed
but with endurance for great distance.
But now there's a widening gap between our biology and our lifestyles,
a mismatch between what our bodies are built for and what we're making them do.
It's a phenomenon my mentors have called "Stone Agers in the fast lane."
(Laughter)
A second paradox of speed is that it can be measured objectively. Right?
Miles per hour, gigabytes per second.
But how speed feels,
and whether we like it,
is highly subjective.
So we can document
that the pace at which we are adopting new technologies is increasing.
For example, it took 85 years from the introduction of the telephone
to when the majority of Americans had phones at home.
In contrast, it only took 13 years for most of us to have smartphones.
And how people act and react to speed
varies by culture and among different people within the same culture.
Interactions that could be seen as pleasantly brisk and convenient
in some cultures
could be seen as horribly rude in others.
I mean, you wouldn't go asking for a to-go cup at a Japanese tea ceremony
so you could jet off to your next tourist stop.
Would you?
A third paradox is that speed begets speed.
The faster I respond, the more responses I get,
the faster I have to respond again.
Having more communication
and information at our fingertips
at any given moment
was supposed to make decision-making easier and more rational.
But that doesn't really seem to be happening.
Here's just one more paradox:
If all of these faster technologies were supposed to free us from drudgery,
why do we all feel so pressed for time?
Why are we crashing our cars in record numbers,
because we think we have to answer that text right away?
Shouldn't life in the fast lane feel a little more fun
and a little less anxious?
German speakers even have a word for this:
"Eilkrankheit."
In English, that's "hurry sickness."
When we have to make fast decisions,
autopilot brain kicks in,
and we rely on our learned behaviors,
our reflexes, our cognitive biases,
to help us perceive and respond quickly.
Sometimes that saves our lives, right?
Fight or flight.
But sometimes, it leads us astray in the long run.
Oftentimes, when our society has major failures,
they're not technological failures.
They're failures that happen when we made decisions too quickly
on autopilot.
We didn't do the creative or critical thinking required
to connect the dots
or weed out false information
or make sense of complexity.
That kind of thinking can't be done fast.
That's slow thinking.
Two psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky,
started pointing this out back in 1974,
and we're still struggling to do something with their insights.
All of modern history can be thought of as one spurt of acceleration after another.
It's as if we think if we just speed up enough,
we can outrun our problems.
But we never do.
We know this in our own lives,
and policymakers know it, too.
So now we're turning to artificial intelligence
to help us make faster and smarter decisions
to process this ever-expanding universe of data.
But machines crunching data are no substitute
for critical and sustained thinking
by humans,
whose Stone Age brains need a little time to let their impulses subside,
to slow the mind
and let the thoughts flow.
If you're starting to think that we should just hit the brakes,
that won't always be the right solution.
We all know that a train that's going too fast around a bend can derail,
but Seifu, the engineer,
taught me that a train that's going too slowly around a bend can also derail.
So managing this spurt of acceleration starts with the understanding
that we have more control over speed than we think we do,
individually and as a society.
Sometimes, we'll need to engineer ourselves to go faster.
We'll want to solve gridlock,
speed up disaster relief for hurricane victims
or use 3-D printing to produce what we need on the spot,
just when we need it.
Sometimes, though, we'll want to make our surroundings feel slower
to engineer the crash out of the speedy experience.
And it's OK not to be stimulated all the time.
It's good for adults
and for kids.
Maybe it's boring, but it gives us time to reflect.
Slow time is not wasted time.
And we need to reconsider what it means to save time.
Culture and rituals around the world build in slowness,
because slowness helps us reinforce our shared values and connect.
And connection is a critical part of being human.
We need to master speed,
and that means thinking carefully about the trade-offs of any given technology.
Will it help you reclaim time that you can use to express your humanity?
Will it give you hurry sickness? Will it give other people hurry sickness?
If you're lucky enough to decide the pace that you want to travel through life,
it's a privilege.
Use it.
You might decide that you need both to speed up
and to create slow time:
time to reflect,
to percolate
at your own pace;
time to listen,
to empathize,
to rest your mind,
to linger at the dinner table.
So as we zoom into the future,
let's consider setting the technologies of speed,
the purpose of speed
and our expectations of speed
to a more human pace.
Thank you.
(Applause)
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載入中…

【TED】凱瑟琳·布斯基爾: 步調快的世界,預料外的後果 (The unforeseen consequences of a fast-paced world | Kathryn Bouskill)

370 分類 收藏
林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 1 月 9 日
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