The problem, Bruni said, is not technology but how technology is being used — we have access to a wealth of knowledge but only use it to reinforce what we are already know.
“When we’re in our homes, we have hundreds of television channels at our disposal, and we have numerous ways to watch them,” he said. “We could flick from the History Channel ... to some sports and really experience the breadth of the world. But if we’re honest with ourselves, that’s not what most people do.”
Bruni pointed out how websites like Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Google constantly track our preferences and use what they find to recommend nearly identical products. He said the result is that we live inside our comfort zones. Bruni said we’re doing the same thing with politics, and it’s causing increased polarization and tension between parties.
He said the key to breaking out of the categorization of our society is changing the way our universities are run.
First-year Oliver Mitchell-Boyask said he attended the lecture because his father is a big fan of Bruni, and he always enjoyed his writing.
“I think that he missed some of the more positive aspects of our generation, but for the most part, I agree with many of his concerns,” Mitchell-Boyask said.
The lecture series is named for Eve Marie Carson, the student body president who was kidnapped and killed in 2008. Carson advocated for the series, originally called the Distinguished Speaker Series, with the mission of bringing accomplished speakers to UNC during her presidential campaign. The organization continues her legacy.
Chad Kirchmann is co-chairperson of the Speakers at Carolina, which hosted the lecture.
“It’s though discourse, not through sheltering ourselves, that you shed light on the issues in society,” he said.