[The Knowledge Project Ep. #114] Noreena Hertz: The Crisis of Loneliness
Shane: How is it you came to write about loneliness?
Noreena: It wasn’t the most obvious topic for an economist, but what happened was I was teaching at university. I’d been teaching for many years and I was very struck by the fact that an increasing number of my students were coming into my office during office hours and confiding in me how lonely and isolated they felt. This was a new phenomenon. I’d been teaching at university for over a decade and I hadn’t seen this before. The other thing I’ve noticed with my students was when I assign them group assignments, increasing numbers seem to find it quite challenging to interact in person face to face. And I raised it with a colleague who runs one of America’s most prestigious universities. He said to me, “We’re seeing exactly the same thing here. In fact, it’s so bad here that we’re having to run remedial ‘how to read a face in real life’ classes for our incoming students. Because they’re spending so much time on their screens that when they’re face to face, they’re finding it really hard to interact.”
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