Susan Greenfield

Jordan Brown speaks with Baroness Susan Greenfield as part of a reflection on his award-winning documentary Stare Into The Lights My Pretties from 2017 for the International Symposium on Technology And Society (ISTAS) in November 2020.

Baroness Greenfield is a pioneering neuroscientist, research scientist, author, and broadcaster, focusing on the study of consciousness and the physical basis of the mind. Her research in neuroscience has seen her author 10 books, spanning different aspects of the brain and the mind; as well as the personal and social impacts of screen culture and digital technologies.


Click on the time-codes below to seek to that section of the interview.

00:00 Introduction
01:36 There’s a life to your work as a scientist
02:35 Coming to neuroscience and Screen Culture concerns
06:30 Neuroplasticity and Screen culture, and the backlash
08:07 We live in a techno-dazzled world
08:35 The impact is not the same as the motorcar, the telephone, the television
09:16 The response to it’s not the same
10:05 How are they changing us?
10:50 Screen world dominated by action rather than insight
13:12 Process versus Content, information is not knowledge
15:37 Search engines, superficial engagement with information
16:47 Social media, encouraging people to see themselves as brands
18:03 A screen life, a parallel universe
18:37 What’s happened since 2013?
20:19 COVID has given us an experiment in a totalising screen life
21:22 Space
23:01 Time
24:50 Non-linearity, encouraging scatterbrain, a changing consciousness
26:36 We’re looking at a generation of people that stay as 3 year olds
28:56 The solipsistic self
30:00 We live in a paradoxical time, the emphasis on speed
31:17 The screen culture is the driving force, not you
32:02 Strong internal identity versus the screen identity, fragile and externalised
34:32 iPad tantrums
36:45 Screen addiction in young minds and empathy
38:35 Hyperstimulation, video game tantrums, violent outbursts
40:16 Video games and violence, it’s not so simple
42:03 The emotional and self-centred society, manipulation, surveillance
43:53 Artificial intelligence, the mechanistic worldview
45:12 Transhumanism, cyborgs
48:29 Robots mimicking humans
49:28 Creating a mimic of consciousness
52:44 Convergent problems, what can be done?

is an activist, artist, musician, independent film-maker and freelance journalist whose work focuses on the interface between the dominant culture and the real impact on people, society and the environment. He has won awards and industry accolades for his work, including the 2018 Edward Snowden Award, the 2017 Change Maker Award (NIFF), and the 2016 Honorary Award of the Ministry of Justice (Slovakia).