nicholas carr

Showing 14 posts tagged nicholas carr


What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Ever wonder what detrimental effect the Internet may be having on your brain? The Epipheo YouTube channel animated an interview with author Nicholas Carr, who argues that constant Internet use is harming our long term memory by over-stimulating and dividing our attention and that could be threatening our very humanity. To combat this, Epipheo recommends taking some time each day to unplug from the Internet and focus on a singular task.

A clever look inside The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. In June we’ll be publishing an updated edition of Carr’s earlier work about cloud computing, The Big Switch.

Augmentor and Augmentee

McLuhan offered a dark prophecy about Glass a half century ago:

Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.

That’s alarmist, sure, but even though Glass is a logical extension of the ever-present smartphone screen and its hidden location sensor, it also represents a crossing of the bodily proscenium. It is, as they say, in your face. And before we allow those fellows up there to mount our brows, harness our gaze, and whisper sweet somethings in our ears, it would probably be wise to consider exactly how they’ll benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves. When profit-seeking investors and companies start augmenting our reality in a very intimate fashion, how exactly do rights and responsibilities shake out?

—from Nick Carr’s Rough Type blog. Read it all.

The reason people struggle with the tension between online experience and offline experience is because there is a tension between online experience and offline experience, and people are smart enough to understand, to feel, that the tension does not evaporate as the online intrudes ever further into the offline. In fact, the growing interpenetration between the two modes of experience—the two states of being—actually ratchets up the tension. We sense a threat in the hegemony of the online because there’s something in the offline that we’re not eager to sacrifice.

From Digital dualism denialism, by Nicholas Carr

From counterculture to anticulture

Nick Carr responds to Tim O’Reilly’s dismissal of the literary novel:

This is so foolish and confused, so callous. It takes a remarkable degree of critical vacuity to suggest that because an art form is “relatively recent,” it lacks worth — that because the novel is “only a 200-year-old [sic] construct,” it’s somehow suspect, and disposable. And how sad and shallow to view the reading (or writing) of a book like Moby Dick as an exercise in elitism. It’s the antithesis of elitism.

In an 1878 article on ‘practical uses of the phonograph’, the New York Times predicted that the phonograph would be used ‘in the school-room in training children to read properly without the personal attention of the teacher; in teaching them to spell correctly, and in conveying any lesson to be acquired by study and memory. In short, a school may almost be conducted by machinery.’

Nick Carr, The prehistory of the MOOC

A River Runs Round Me

I’ve been reading Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, and I think we have cause to be uneasy. With copious anecdotes and research into the brain’s plasticity, Carr suggests the Internet is changing us. I feel it; I’m more irritable, less patient, and lacking concentration. When I sit down to actually read a book, I find my mind wandering here or there and wondering if something new has popped up on the ‘net, or if an email is sitting cold and lonely, desperate to be read, while my MacBook Air gently weeps.

Most of all I worry about becoming a functional Gnostic, plugged into this new matrix, this new pixelated irreality. My reality easily becomes the screens, and the interactivity of hyperlinks means I can go where I will and create my own personal submatrix thereby. If Walker Percy had lived into this millennium, surely what we do on the Internet to attempt re-entry from our estrangement from the world would have found its way into Lost in the Cosmos.

-Leroy Huzienga, First Things