Smarter Than You Think

Smarter Than You Think

How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better

eBook - 2013
Average Rating:
4
Rate this:
"In Smarter Than You Think Thompson shows that every technological innovation--from the written word to the printing press to the telegraph--has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But as in the past, we adapt--learning to use the new and retaining what's good of the old. Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There's the seventy-six-year old millionaire who digitally records his every waking moment--giving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life, even going back decades. There's a group of courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decade--and solved it collaboratively in only one month. Smarter Than You Think isn't just about pioneers. It's about everyday users of technology and how our digital tools--from Google to Twitter to Facebook and smartphones--are giving us new ways to learn, talk, and share our ideas. Thompson harnesses the latest discoveries in social science to explore how digital technology taps into our long-standing habits of mind--pushing them in powerful new directions. Our thinking will continue to evolve as newer tools enter our lives. Smarter Than You Think embraces and extols this transformation, presenting an exciting vision of the present and the future"-- Provided by publisher.
" It's undeniable-technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson delivers a resounding "yes." The Internet age has produced a radical new style of human intelligence, worthy of both celebration and analysis. We learn more and retain it longer, write and think with global audiences, and even gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us. Modern technology is making us smarter, better connected, and often deeper-both as individuals and as a society. In Smarter Than You Think Thompson shows that every technological innovation-from the written word to the printing press to the telegraph-has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But as in the past, we adapt-learning to use the new and retaining what's good of the old. Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There's the seventy-six-year old millionaire who digitally records his every waking moment-giving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life, even going back decades. There's a group of courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decade-and solved it collaboratively in only one month. Smarter Than You Think isn't just about pioneers. It's about everyday users of technology and how our digital tools-from Google to Twitter to Facebook and smartphones-are giving us new ways to learn, talk, and share our ideas. Thompson harnesses the latest discoveries in social science to explore how digital technology taps into our long-standing habits of mind-pushing them in powerful new directions. Our thinking will continue to evolve as newer tools enter our lives. Smarter Than You Think embraces and extols this transformation, presenting an exciting vision of the present and the future. "-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : The Penguin Press, 2013.
ISBN: 1101638710
9781101638712
Characteristics: 1 online resource (341 p.)

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

s
sggramps
Feb 01, 2018

The author argues that computers can be of significant help in performing mental tasks. Access to vast amounts of information relieves our memory of the need to store a great deal in our heads. Social connectivity offers an opportunity to tap the memory and problem-solving skills of broad online communities. At a societal level this offers opportunities to improve our political systems schools and interpersonal connections. The author recognizes that all is not a bed of roses in this electronic world. He identifies many caveats that must be observed if we are to succeed in using these tools properly, for example discussion forums must be well curated and students still need skilled teachers if they are to benefit from computerized teaching aids. The author introduces most topics by providing relevant anecdotes and then presenting his arguments, mostly with reference to research. The advantage of computers in performing certain tasks is often placed in a historical context of how other technologies have helped us. Each chapter concludes with an insight into potential future developments on the topic.

The author displays a laudable optimism towards technology but does not seem to fully take into account the threats posed. For example, we are treated to the creativity and problem solving unleashed by gaming with scant mention of the evidence for gaming addiction. The argument that computerization offers great advantages for the disciplined user who is aware of the limits and biases of the technology is well made. How many users embark on this wonderful journey and how many get left behind mired in the morass of mindless gaming or the mirrored halls of social media that only encourage prejudice and paranoia? We are never told. While most of the arguments presented in favour of the value of computerization appear plausible, some are very debatable, for example the suggestion that everyone should constantly update their status to reduce emails only begs the question of what happens when we are overwhelmed by all these updates? Finally, the sub title of the text appears to be a misnomer. The author argues for the thoughtful use of computers, to help us remember, solve problems and build communities. The question of how that may be influencing our native intellectual skills is not addressed except perhaps in the most figurative sense.

With regard to style and presentation, the language flows smoothly and the vocabulary is adapted to a lay audience. The use of anecdotes to introduce topics captures our attention however it does leave us wondering where the author is going. This lack of direction is compounded by the occasional presentation of several topics in succession without a clear explanation of their connection. The use of notes at the end of the chapter rather than traditional footnotes is disappointing.

All in all a good informative read,

meeksfenny1986 Jan 22, 2016

In a sea of doomsayers and paranoia, this book offers a refreshing and positive look at the way the technology is changing the way we think and operate for the better. Thompson provides a fascinating account on how every technological innovation—whether that is the invention of the written word or telephones—has produced waves of mass-anxiety. He then goes on to use a series of case-studies to examine the social science behind modern technology, the ways it circumnavigates human failure and habits, and eventually fuels humankind’s ability to collaborate and harness everyday user’s potential.

k
KABuck
Aug 06, 2015

The direction in which modern technological advancements are taking us is heavily debated. This book assumes the optimistic perspective, serving as a powerful thesis that technology is and will continue to augment our intellectual, social and creative capacities. Thompson's arguments are well structured and contain fresh research about the uses and effects of new technology around the world. Whether you agree with the content or not, you will surely learn something.

e
eastvanbookfan
Oct 28, 2013

I often wonder if technology is 'dumbing' us down so this book was a good example of how that is probably not so. Still doesn't PROVE anything, just gives me pause for reflection that technology can be good too......

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at OPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top