Nautilus

For Billions of People, “Wasting Time” Makes Little Sense

Monks relaxing in Sikkim, Indiaflowcomm via Flickr

Robert Levine, a social psychologist at California State University, Fresno, will always remember a conversation he had with an exchange student from Burkina Faso, in Western Africa. Levine had complained to the student that he’d wasted the morning “yakking in a café” instead of doing his work.

The student looked confused. “How can you waste time? If you’re not doing one thing, you’re doing something else. Even if you’re just talking to a friend, or sitting around, that’s what you’re

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus13 min readTech
The Storytelling Computer: Artificial intelligence needs to think like the mythical trickster.
What is it exactly that makes humans so smart? In his seminal 1950 paper, “Computer Machinery and Intelligence,” Alan Turing argued human intelligence was the result of complex symbolic reasoning. Philosopher Marvin Minsky, cofounder of the artificia
Nautilus6 min read
How to Collapse the Distinction Between Art and Biology
Language,” the Beat writer William S. Burroughs supposedly once exclaimed, “is a virus from outer space.” Burroughs was making a metaphorical extrapolation about the ways in which words, phrases, idioms, sentences, lines, and narratives can seemingly
Nautilus5 min read
The Great Silence: A parrot has a question for humans.
The humans use Arecibo to look for extraterrestrial intelligence. Their desire to make a connection is so strong that they’ve created an ear capable of hearing across the universe. But I and my fellow parrots are right here. Why aren’t they intereste