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Home » The Unforeseen Consequences of a Fast-Paced World: Kathryn Bouskill (Transcript)

The Unforeseen Consequences of a Fast-Paced World: Kathryn Bouskill (Transcript)

Kathryn Bouskill at TED Talks

Following is the full text and audio of anthropologist Kathryn Bouskill’s talk titled “The Unforeseen Consequences of a Fast-Paced World” at TED Talk conference. In this talk, she explores the paradoxes of living in a fast-paced society and explains why we need to reconsider the importance of slowing down.

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“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.”


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.

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