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Who's in the Video
Nicholas Negroponte is the co-founder (with Jerome B. Wiesner) of the MIT Media Lab (1985), which he directed for its first 20 years. A graduate of MIT, Negroponte was a[…]

How the digital age has made an “omelet” out of life and work—and why that’s exactly the way we like it.

Question: Should people “unplug” more to avoid media oversaturation?


Nicholas Negroponte: Well, it's interesting because unplugging is an expression we use and in fact, I find that unplugging is in fact for many people, including me, an uncomfortable state. And that what you do is you get to spend more time doing the things you love because you've used the interstices of time. I remember when I would come back from a trip and have to log in and do all my email and get a download and upload, and so on and so forth. Now, it's all done, not only on the airplane, but in the car back home, or to the airport. And suddenly you've used that otherwise wasted time and you can really use prime time for prime time. We are not quite a forced as we were before to, in the case of overload, to just cram everything out of one's life and I think we're seeing in young people a much more mixed existence where I'd like to describe a sort of life 20 years ago as being a fried egg. There was a yolk and a white and the white was maybe work, and the yolk was life. Today, it's more of an omelet. It's more mixed and it's more interspersed and I think that that's a more interesting state of being and for some people, they'll say well I want the crisp, fried egg approach to life. Well, I think life's turning into an omelet and people will just have to live with that.

Recorded on December 4, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen