Transcript: Arianna Huffington on We Are Drowning in Data and Starved for Wisdom

And when you sort of ask more questions, what would happen, let me just give you a one story. This was a woman in her early 30s, was a pastry chef and a babysitter. And she said I would come home after my jobs and that was my time to watch my shows. So that was like her reward and what she didn’t realize is that she was short changing herself of the one thing that was freely available and that she desperately needed, and that was sleep. So sometimes, she said, I would watch for four hours and then fall asleep with the TV. Then the TV would wake her up and then she said I would be so tired. But yet I couldn’t go back to sleep so I would go and have something sweet to eat. So the vicious cycle was perpetuated. So there’s a lot that needs to be done. You know, we need to raise minimum wage, we need to deal with the dangers of technology taking away so many jobs for that people are being retrained. There is a lot we can do. Sleep alone is not going to solve all of these problems.

But here is something which is freely available that would dramatically change the health equation and the resilience of people who are struggling. And so that’s definitely part of the campaign that we are running now, which is focusing on these groups and on colleges. And the reason we are focusing on colleges, we’re doing sleep fairs in 100 colleges, is because this is the generation, it’s your generation that’s going to change the culture. And so, in this league first, we are, as well as giving a lot of free things that make sleep easier, including pillows, let’s say sleeping our way to the top. And we also are offering, which are available at Stanford all this week, free Uber rides at night by Toyota. All you have to do is put the promo code in, if you’re a Stanford student it’s ToyotaSafetySU. And Toyota is offering this because they’re partnered with Uber and The Huffington Post in underlining the dangers of drowsy driving.

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And because what’s happened, again part of the culture with drunk driving, we’ve kind of won the battle. The numbers are going significantly down because people are much more reluctant to get behind the wheel when they are drunk. But not when they are drowsy, the numbers are going up. So it was 1.2 million crashes last year and 8,000 deaths. So we have a PSA about it, Travis Kalanick and I on tomorrow. We are doing ride alongs with Uber drivers, so you can actually request us, you can — the promo code is –

Interviewer: You’ve got to do selfies and take videos while that’s happening.

Arianna Huffington: Yeah, we’re having it, and then we take you where you want to go, we don’t kidnap you. But in this process, you have Travis and me talk to you about not driving while drowsy and any other of your bad sleep habits. And we give you a big fabulous bag with a lot of good things in it.

Interviewer: I think it’s a very interesting question though, because one is almost driven by necessity and the other is almost like a privileged choice that we end up in. But suddenly we’ve run out of time Arianna. But I just want to mention a story as we close to kind of just share with the audience how from dark places come great things like Arianna. We didn’t touch it on the beginning, but the story is to how your parents met. And it was at a hospital in Greece, where I believe your father was recovering from the Nazi concentration camp where he’d been taken as he was a journalist back in the day. And at the same time her mother was fleeing from Russia and they’re recovering from TB thinking that she’d never be able to get pregnant. So just to show, from despair come wonderful things like Arianna. She’s been delightful, so please join me in thanking her for being with us today.

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