The Shallows -- Chapter 3

In chapter 3 Carr refers to the developmental maturation of the mind and our intellectual transformation and correspondingly, the types of technologies which have evolved. The book and the Internet belong to what is termed "...intellectual technologies. These include all the tools we use to extend or support our mental powers - to find and classify information, to formulate and articulate ideas, to share know-how and knowledge, to take measurements and perform calculations, to expand the capacity of our memory" (44). Carr further refers to the instrumentalist and determinist views of technology - essentially the former views that we are in control of our technologies, and the latter views technology as utimately out of our control (46).

* Does the way that we gather information from the Internet (quick reading and scanning) help to expand the capacity of our memory?

* How does our use of the Internet compare to the ancient reliance on verbal information and the latter development and reliance on the written word?

* Are we as a species in control of the transformation of the Internet as an intellectual techology?


Here is the discussion of the previous chapters of the book:

Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Introduction to discussion

This Time magazine article refers to a Stanford University study on how self-described "heavy media multitaskers" vs. "light media mutlitaskers" perform during multitasking tests, the results of which some might find surprising. The study is covered in more detail on the Frontline episode Digital Nation.

In October 2010, many gathered at a retirement party for the futurist Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi. It had been 40 years since the 1970 publication of his groundbreaking book Future Shock, in which he made a number of predictions about where our culture was headed. Many of those predictions came true. At this party, he revisited Future Shock and shared new predictions.

Toffler’s 1970 book popularized the term “information overload” decades before the Internet was commercialized. In his latest report, “40 For The Next 40,” he notes that it is now very easy to collect information faster than it can be analyzed. That information sits on computers unused and accumulating what Toffler calls “cyberdust.”

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