#162 Tom Chatfield – Amplifying minds: the vital role of Critical Thinking in the Digital Era


Tom Chatfield is a British author and tech philosopher, interested in improving our experiences and understanding of technology. He is the author of several books on good thinking in today’s tech-dominated world, including “Critical Thinking” and “How to Think”. He also teaches these skills to diverse audiences, ranging from schools to corporate boardrooms, and he has recently designed a successful online course on Critical Thinking for the Economist education. His most recent book is Wise Animals, an exploration of the co-evolution of humanity and technology—and the lessons our deep past may hold for the present. He’s also an experienced Chair, Non-Executive Director, advisor and speaker across the private and public sectors. 

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Índice:

(3:00) Introduction in English

(5:06) How did you end up writing about critical thinking and technology? | Is critical thinking a soft or a hard skill? | Heuristics and biases (work of Daniel Kahnemen and Amos Trvsersky) | The art of knowing when to seek ‘cognitive reinforcements’ | Why communicating nuances and uncertainties is so hard today. | Arguments when our basic assumptions differ | Why critical thinking is not about being always right. | The importance of challenging our assumptions.

(32:46) Why asking questions is the best way to dispute arguments. | The importance of creating trust to have open discussions. | Useful tricks to improve collective decision-making: pre-mortems; obligation to dissent; Oxford-style debates | How much of corporate work today runs around sending and replying to emails | The Amazon memo | ask religious schools | The importance of thinking before talking: book Robert Poynton – Do Pause: You Are Not A To Do List

(47:45) Difference between teaching critical thinking to 12 year olds and corporate audiences? | The ubiquity of business jargon | Richard Feynman and the power of questions | Why did SpaceX give up on “catching” falling fairings? | Thomas Kuhn on paradigm shifts | Richard Feynman On The Folly Of Crafting Precise Definitions

(1:09:06) New book: Wise Animals: How Technology Has Made Us What We Are | Impact of mass interactive media on democracy. | impact of social media on social health. Book by Jonathan Haidt: The Anxious Generation

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Today we’re diving into an enlightening conversation with Tom Chatfield, a British author and tech philosopher.

Tom is the author of several books on good thinking in today’s tech-dominated world, including “Critical Thinking” and “How to Think”. He also teaches these skills to diverse audiences, ranging from schools to corporate boardrooms, and he has recently designed a successful online course on Critical Thinking for the Economist education. In his most recent book, Wise Animals, Tom explores our relationship with technology, examining the lessons that our ancestral past may hold for our present challenges. 

In this thought-provoking conversation with Tom, we discussed his advice for how to think more critically in today’s complex world. We talked about strategies to combat the influence of cognitive biases in our mind, as popularized by thinkers like the late Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, and the importance (and difficulty) of challenging our own assumptions. We also discussed the importance of creating trust in order to be able to have open conversations, and some techniques for deep discussions and good decision making in all contexts. 

In the final part, we turned our focus to Tom’s latest book, which explores our relationship with technology, and I asked his view on two big impacts technology is currently having in society: the destabilizing effect of mass interactive media on traditional democratic structures, exacerbating polarization and eroding public trust in institutions; and the troubling rise of what many experts refer to as an “Epidemic of Mental Illness” among children and teenagers, driven by pervasive social media use. 

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Esta conversa foi editada por: Hugo Oliveira

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Bio: Tom Chatfield is a British author and tech philosopher, interested in improving our experiences and understanding of technology. His most recent book is Wise Animals, an exploration of the co-evolution of humanity and technology—and the lessons our deep past may hold for the present. His recent work around future skills and technology includes designing and presenting the Economist’s new business course Critical Thinking: Problem-solving and decision-making in a complex world. Tom’s non-fiction books exploring digital culture, including How To Thrive in the Digital Age (Pan Macmillan) and Live This Book! (Penguin), have appeared in over thirty languages. His bestselling critical thinking textbooks and online courses, developed in partnership with SAGE Publishing, are used in schools and universities across the world. He’s also an experienced Chair, Non-Executive Director, advisor and speaker across the private and public sectors. Topics he’s written about recently include the ethics of AI, what it means to think well, technology in deep time and the philosophy of fake news.

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