Genevieve Bell on Boredom: TEDxPortland

Very interesting discussion on what happens we lack time for boredom.


Genevieve Bell
Interactive and Experience Research Director, Intel
  • Background
    • Had a doctorate in cultural anthropology
    • Designs next generation experiences connected device experiences at Intel
  • Will We Ever Be Bored Again? And why it might matter.
  • Want to make a plea for boredom, and why.
  • At Hong Kong Airport. Every single person had a mobile device in their hand.
  • There’s a promise that there will never be nothing to do again. There will never be a moment of boredom.
  • As a cultural anthropologist, talking to people, she’s hearing that everyone says they are overwhelmed. 
  • Is there anything we can do about that?
  • Charles Dickens in the book The Bleak House, coined the word boredom in 1852. It never existed before.
  • Choice and boredom are interconnected. Before 1852, there was no leisure time.
  • Some philosophers say boredom is a fundamental state of being.
  • If you study people’s brains when they are bored, their brains are literally lit up with activity.
  • There’s some important about the boredom of our childhood.
  • We’re no longer bored on train platforms. 
  • Teenagers are bored. When teenagers get drivers license, they like to get together and be bored together.
  • Devices are very needy. They need to be plugged in, connected, have passwords, be updated.
  • When we get up in the morning we all check some form of digital communication: texts or facebook or email.
  • what would it take to wake boredom up? what would it mean not to be connected? not surfing the internet, not downloading an app. let’s embrace being bored.
  • there’s something about being bored that is incredibly rich. that propels us to be inventive, to be creative. 
  • how do we choose to spend our time.
  • “go out and get bored!”
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