In “Chelsea Does Silicon Valley,” Chelsea Handler learns as much as she can about the tech industry. Because she is technologically challenged, she takes a coding class with children who possess far more advanced computer skills. She also looks into developing her own cell phone app, and comes into contact with some strange inventions.
However, what she also realizes is that technology has the ability to take over a person’s life. People don’t socialize as much when their ears are covered with headphones and their eyes are glued to a cell phone. When in public or with friends, sometimes it’s best to put the technology away.
During the episode, Handler decides to attend a “mini digital detox.” This is basically group therapy for people so hooked on technology that they need to learn how to disconnect from their devices and reconnect with other people.
The people attending the detox are hardcore tech users. When asked by the group leader how many of them had used a device for more than five hours that day, most of the attendees raised their hands. Handler wasn’t one of them, which might be a benefit of her lack of skill with technology.
As part of the detox process, the attendees are all asked to approach someone they don’t know in the group and give that person two thumbs up. Handler approaches another woman, they smile at each other, and they give each other two thumbs up. They are then told to tell each other, “I like you.” With big smiles on their faces, Handler and her partner do as told. They then explain why they like each other. Handler says she sees kindness in the other woman’s face. The other woman says she sees confidence in Handler’s.
Their leader decides to take things up a notch and asks the attendees to do something “really, really awkward.” He wants them to find another stranger in the group, approach that person, and give him or her a big hug. They all receive their hugs and thank one another for the physical contact. The point of all of this was to show that physical contact with another person is important. Engagement with others over the internet is not the same thing as real life engagement.
The last order Handler gets during the episode’s detox segment is to approach yet another stranger. They must share with each other what they are grateful for in life. They look upon one another in person and are happy about what they choose to share. By the end of the detox, Handler realizes she still gets plenty of valuable time away from technology and is grateful she isn’t too stuck in the digital world.