Webbed Minds

It’s no big secret that the Internet has dramatically changed the way we work, socialize and get around, but is it changing us? In his New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer finalist The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, author Nicholas Carr argues that the advantages of Google and Facebook do come at a price to our cognitive faculties.

“As it was true with technologies of the past, the Net changes the balance of our thinking,” says Carr. “We gain a lot, but we lose some important things as well. It encourages multi-tasking, constant stimulus and incessant exchange of messages in a fast-paced environment. And in this, it discourages any type of thinking that requires deep attentiveness for an extended period of time; it discourages screening out distractions.

“One thing we know about the human mind,” he continues, “is that we instinctually crave information. It’s in tune with evolution: If a caveman knew everything about what was going on around him, it increases his chances of survival. But this primitive instinct in a digital environment — where there’s no end to the amount of information — causes us to lose sophisticated levels of thinking.”

Carr will present his book during a talk titled Caught in the Net: How Computers Shape Our Talents and Lives, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Chautauqua Community House, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder. Admission is $12; for more information, contact boxoffice@chautauqua.com or call 303-440-7666.
Thu., Jan. 10, 7 p.m., 2013


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