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No one enjoys being bored, which is why the entertainment field is so lucrative and social media so compelling. But smartphone technologies threaten to erase boredom for good, and that’s bad news for humanity’s future, explains podcaster and journalist Manoush Zomorodi. Learn why humans need boredom and how Zomorodi’s Bored and Brilliant project discovered incremental, empowering ways to help you put down your phone.


Boredom activates your brain’s “default mode” – a state in which you solve lingering problems, draw new connections and see the bigger narrative of your life.

Modern technology makes it easy to avoid boredom. Smartphones fill every spare minute with text messages, news updates and entertainment. But is avoiding boredom in your best interest? What would happen if humans were never bored again?

According to cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists, boredom plays important roles. As you fold laundry or retread the same walking route, the default-mode network in your brain activates. Your body shifts into autopilot, but your brain becomes very busy. It may solve lingering problems, draw links between seemingly unrelated ideas and engage in “autobiographical planning” – taking in the big picture of your life, building a personal narrative and setting goals for what you want your next chapters to hold. A brain in default mode ...

About the Speaker

Journalist and podcaster Manoush Zomorodi is host of the TED Radio Hour and author of Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out.

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