My highlights from this speak:

  • As an example in this study; Matching people’s TV preferences with their views on social justice issues reveals that Americans who rank immigration among their top three concerns are more likely to be fans of “The Walking Dead,” and they often watch for the adrenaline boost, which is measurable.
  • To date, most media and social-change strategies have attempted to appeal to mass audiences, but the future is media customized for each person. As real-time measurement of media consumption and automated media production becomes the norm, we will soon be consuming media tailored directly to our cravings using a blend of psychographics, biometrics and AI. It’s like personalized medicine based on our DNA. I call it “biomedia.”
  • I am currently testing the Limbic Lab in a pilot study with the Norman Lear Center, which looks at the top 50 episodic television shows. But I am grappling with an ethical dilemma. If I design a tool that can be turned into a weapon, should I build it?


Boisvert, Heidi. “Heidi Boisvert: How I’m Using Biological Data to Tell Better Stories — and Spark Social Change | TED Talk.” Accessed January 28, 2023.

Personal Analysis:

The main point of this talk for me is that she believes the future media is customized for each person. This could be an interesting factor that I may assess or analyze in my future research. For instance, it sparks questions like “does customized social media bring a better and healthier user experience?” or “Could we use customized social media to spread behavioral change?”

In the middle of her talk, she mentioned that she is mapping the first media genome, emphasizing that what we see in the media creates something like DNA for us that affects our future decisions and behavior. That tempted me to read more about her idea.

And her speech concludes with a controversial dilemma: Should we create something with good intentions when we know it might also be used for evil? That is an intriguing question that I cannot personally answer.