Since the lockdown, many of us have been spending more time than ever on our screens devouring the news. How is this changing the way we think and feel? And how exactly is social media influencing events in the real world?
No one is better placed to address these questions than pioneering research psychologist BJ Fogg, founder of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab and widely credited as one of the first scientists to understand how computers could be used to influence human behaviour.
More than half of people in Britain and America now get their news from social media. And the reaction to the video of a white US police officer killing George Floyd, an African American man, shows the power these platforms have to shape our behaviour. Within days of the video being uploaded anger and emotion had spread across the world and spilled onto the streets. But we did not all interpret the footage in the same way or view it within the same context. The platforms already know our political allegiances and lead us to consume content designed to confirm our biases. The more we get, the more we want – and the fewer dissenting voices we encounter.
On July 21 Fogg comes to Intelligence Squared to unpack these pressing issues with research director Carl Miller, who has worked extensively on tracking extremism, misinformation and the rise of conspiracies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Watch the event live online and have the chance to put your own questions to the speakers.
Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, by BJ Fogg and The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab by Carl Miller are available to purchase from Waterstones, by clicking the book jackets below.
Speakers are subject to change.