Woman’s hand showing digital big data.

Woman’s hand showing digital big data. Credit – Yuichiro Chino—Getty Images

Profound changes to the substance and structure of our lives — wrought by disruptive technologies ranging from smartphones and social media to newly ascendent AI — often go unnoticed amidst the rush of daily life. Over 30 percent of U.S. adults report “almost constant” online activity, something that would have been impossible only two decades ago. From an early age, children are exposed to digital technologies, and one recent study found that two- and three-year-olds average two hours of screen time daily. Nor is this phenomenon simply a matter of media consumption. Ordinary market transactions, whether online shopping or home mortgage applications, are now facilitated through sophisticated algorithmic systems.

How we use our time, form relationships, feed our minds, and develop our identity bears scant resemblance to even ten years ago. These are