In contributing to the digital revolution, the Media Lab helped fuel a society where increasing numbers of people are obese, sedentary, and glued to screens. Our online culture has promoted meaningfulness in terms of online fame and numbers of viewers, and converted time previously spent building face-to-face relationships into interactions online with people who may not be who they say they are. What we have helped to create, willingly or not, often diminishes the social-emotional relationships and activities that promote physical, mental, and social health. Moreover, our workplace culture escalates stress, provides unlimited caffeine, distributes nutrition-free food, holds back-to-back sedentary meetings, and encourages overnight hackathons and unhealthy sleep behavior. Without being dystopian about technology, this effort aims to spawn a series of projects that leverage the many talents and strengths in the Media Lab in order to reshape technology and our workplace to enhance health and wellbeing.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Deloitte, and Bose, the Media Lab's Advancing Wellbeing initiative addresses the role of technology in shaping our health, and explores new approaches and solutions to wellbeing. The program is built around education and student mentoring; prototyping tools and technologies that support physical, mental, social, and emotional wellbeing; and community initiatives that will originate at the Media Lab but be designed to scale.
Thanks to the Carson Reynolds Memorial Fund for generously funding the SIG's video lectures and making them freely accessible around the planet.