How the Internet changes the way we think


The Internet is making us stupid (2007)
Legal sage Cass Sunstein says democracy is the first casualty of political discourse in the digital age.
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/11/07/sunstein/index.html
EXCERPT: Nov. 7, 2007 | Freedom of choice is not always good for democracy. This observation is at the heart of University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein's book "Republic.com 2.0" (an update of "Republic.com" in 2001), which argues that our country's political discourse is fracturing in the information age. Sure, the Internet has been a boon to democracy in all sorts of ways, Sunstein acknowledges -- but if new technology gives us unprecedented access to information, it also gives us more ways to avoid information we don't like. Conservatives are increasingly seeking only conservative views, liberals are seeking only liberal views, and never the twain shall meet.


Is Google Making Us Stupid? (2008)
What the Internet is doing to our brains by Nicholas Carr
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google
EXCERPT: "The perfect recall of silicon memory," Wired's Clive Thompson has written, "can be an enormous boon to thinking." But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski. <--- THIS LAST LINE IS SO F-ING BEAUTIFUL!


Barry Schwartz: The real crisis? We stopped being wise (Feb 2009)
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom.html


Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for “practical wisdom” as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.


external image 090812_SCI_googleTN.jpgSeeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting.
And why that's dangerous. By Emily Yoffe Posted Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009
http://www.slate.com/id/2224932/pagenum/all/

"If humans are seeking machines, we've now created the perfect machines to allow us to seek endlessly. This perhaps should make us cautious. In Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin writes of driving two indoor cats crazy by flicking a laser pointer around the room. They wouldn't stop stalking and pouncing on this ungraspable dot of light—their dopamine system pumping. She writes that no wild cat would indulge in such useless behavior: "A cat wants tocatch the mouse, not chase it in circles forever." She says "mindless chasing" makes an animal less likely to meet its real needs "because it short-circuits intelligent stalking behavior." As we chase after flickering bits of information, it's a salutary warning."


Kathy Sierra explains why Twitter is so addictive (Mar 16, 2007)
http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2007/03/is_twitter_too_.html
external image twitterslots.jpg
Key issues:
1) Like slot-machine, intermittent variable reward,
2) feeling of connectedness,
3) continuous partial attention
"[...] using Twitter presents us with the possibility of a social reward, while not using it presents us with the possibility of a social penalty - and the possibility of a reward or penalty is a far more compelling motivator than the reality of a reward or penalty. Look at me! Look at me! Are you looking?"