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The internet: is it changing the way we think?

The internet: is it changing the way we think?
Every 50 years or so, American magazine the Atlantic lobs an intellectual grenade into our culture. In the summer of 1945, for example, it published an essay by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineer Vannevar Bush entitled "As We May Think". It turned out to be the blueprint for what eventually emerged as the world wide web. Two summers ago, the Atlantic published an essay by Nicholas Carr, one of the blogosphere's most prominent (and thoughtful) contrarians, under the headline "Is Google Making Us Stupid?". "Over the past few years," Carr wrote, "I've had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn't going – so far as I can tell – but it's changing. The title of the essay is misleading, because Carr's target was not really the world's leading search engine, but the impact that ubiquitous, always-on networking is having on our cognitive processes.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/aug/15/internet-brain-neuroscience-debate

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The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember by Nicholas Carr Do you find it hard to concentrate these days? Do you get fidgety after two pages of a book, and look around for something else to do? Is the online abbreviation "tl;dr" (too long; didn't read) your response to basically everything? If so, Nicholas Carr feels your pain, and has diagnosed the cause: using the internet has rewired your brain and turned you into a flibbertigibbet. The narrative of The Shallows begins with Carr's own feelings ("my concentration starts to drift") and gets only slightly more profound. Isolation in America: Does Living Alone Mean Being Alone? Today living alone is common in nearly all of the most developed and affluent societies in the world. I had originally thought it was an American phenomenon but, in fact, it’s a global one. I believe that the rise of living alone is the biggest demographic change since the baby boom. In all of human history no society has ever sustained large numbers of people living alone for long periods of time.

How computers change the way we learn “This discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories,” a concerned commentator once spoke of a new technology. “[People] will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.” The commentator? Socrates, quoting an Egyptian king.

A Fascinating New Theory About the Human Mind, Evolution and Mortality Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/williammpark June 7, 2013 | Like this article? Join our email list: Moore's Law: Beyond the first law of computing - BBC News Computer chips are arguably both the most complex things ever mass produced by humans and the most disruptive to our lives. So it's remarkable that the extraordinary pace they have evolved at was in large part influenced by a three-page article published 50 years ago this weekend. It noted that the maximum number of components that manufacturers could "cram" onto a sliver of silicon - before which the rising risk of failure made it uneconomic to add more - was doubling at a regular pace. Its author, Gordon Moore, suggested this could be extrapolated to forecast the rate at which more complicated chips could be built at affordable costs. The insight - later referred to as Moore's Law - became the bedrock for the computer processor industry, giving engineers and their managers a target to hit.

How To Raise Kids Who Aren't Narcissists The guy right in front of you on the plane just stood up before the plane finished taxiing. He's taking out his luggage, forcing a flight attendant to intervene. He keeps saying he has a very important meeting to go to -- did he just use the phrase "C-suite"? Kranzberg’s Six Laws of Technology, a Metaphor, and a Story Dr. Melvin Kranzberg was a professor of the history of technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the founding editor of Technology and Culture. In 1985, he delivered the presidential address at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology in which he explained what had already come to be known as Kranzberg’s Laws — “a series of truisms,” according to Kranzberg, “deriving from a longtime immersion in the study of the development of technology and its interactions with sociocultural change.” I’ll list and summarize Kranzberg’s laws below, but first consider this argument by metaphor.

The Truth Is, Philosophy Rules Your World : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture A 2012 installation in the small Italian village of Corigliano d'Otranto celebrates the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and their search for a better way of life. Carlo Hermann/AFP/Getty Images hide caption itoggle caption Carlo Hermann/AFP/Getty Images A 2012 installation in the small Italian village of Corigliano d'Otranto celebrates the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and their search for a better way of life.

HOW IS THE INTERNET CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK? Read any newspaper or magazine and you will notice the many flavors of the one big question that everyone is asking today. Or you can just stay on the page and read recent editions of Edge ... Playwright Richard Foreman asks about the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self-evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the "instantly available".

Bill Moyers Essay: Freedom of and From Religion BILL MOYERS: The president did something agile and wise the other day. And something quite important to the health of our politics. He reached up and snuffed out what some folks wanted to make into a cosmic battle between good and evil. No, said the president, we’re not going to turn the argument over contraception into Armageddon, this is an honest difference between Americans, and I’ll not see it escalated into a holy war. So instead of the government requiring Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions to provide employees with health coverage involving contraceptives, the insurance companies will offer that coverage, and offer it free. The Catholic bishops had cast the president’s intended policy as an infringement on their religious freedom; they hold birth control to be a mortal sin, and were incensed that the government might coerce them to treat it otherwise.

The future of technology? It’s in your hands If a year is a long time in politics (and it is), then it’s an eternity in communications technology. Fourteen years ago, about 400 million people were using the internet. Today, the number of net users is pushing the 3 billion mark. But that’s not the really big news. What’s truly startling is that 2 billion of these folks are getting their internet connections primarily via smartphones, ie, handheld computers that can access the internet as well as make voice calls, send text messages and do the other things that old-fashioned “feature phones” could do. 'Google Generation' is a myth says research A report commissioned by Jisc and the British Library counters the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation’ – young people born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most adept at using the web. The report by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an ease and familiarity with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web. Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future also shows that research-behaviour traits that are commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are now the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and undergraduates through to professors.

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