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Videos and Webinars by William and Criscillia

Does online learning damage children's brains? Fair Observer hosts neuroscientist William Softky and educator Dr. Criscillia Benford to discuss the impact of educational technology on children's brains. William Softky is a biophysicist who was among the first neuroscientists to understand microtiming and also among the first technologists to build that understanding into algorithms. Criscillia Benford is an educator, media theorist and evangelist for offline experiences who writes about narratives, technology and culture.
Ask the Experts: Persuasive Technology On October 7th, 2020, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development convened an esteemed panel for Ask the Experts: Persuasive Technology. Panelists Max Stossel, Criscillia Benford (minute 26:10), Richard Freed, moderated by Yalda Uhls, explored how persuasive design manifests in various platforms, including social media apps and videogames. They also discussed the science behind why these techniques work to influence behavior and keep users online, and what parents can do to mitigate their effects.
Informational Appetites + (un)Natural Statistics = "Screen Addiction"

(at Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuorscience)

Homeostatic fragility occurs when a self-regulating system which is stable in one environment becomes unstable when the environment changes. For example, over-exposure to formerly rare inputs often converts a stable and functional information-foraging instinct into compulsive over-use, e.g. by compelling people already made lonely and depressed by screen-based socializing to seek solace online rather than in person. While this vicious circle is rooted in the abstract mathematics of information theory, the results are all too real: worldwide, the use of artificial entertainment and communication channels, most especially interactive digital ones, is tightly correlated with rising mental misery, self-harm, and violence.

Audio readings

(ordered by recency)

Disrupt Education? No Thanks Criscillia reading aloud her article on Fair Observer, Should Schools Rely on EdTech?
Monetizing Children's Brains William reading aloud his article, Monetizing Children's Brains Means the End of Our Species
So Why Do Cats Like Laser-Dots? William reading aloud his verse answering a common question about cats, and people