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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (2010)

por Nicholas Carr

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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2,7111714,037 (3.89)103
As we enjoy the Internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Carr describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by "tools of the mind"--from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer--and interweaves recent discoveries in neuroscience. Now, he expands his argument into a compelling exploration of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences. Our brains, scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. Building on insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a case that every information technology carries a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. The printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In contrast, the Internet encourages rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information. As we become ever more adept at scanning and skimming, are we losing our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection?--From publisher description.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 169 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
fun, light read- good stuff about history of silent reading- engrossing- enlightening- really makes you think about the mechanization of modern mind
  Sebuktegin | May 25, 2021 |
Do you ever feel like you struggle to concentrate when doing things but remember that you used to be able to with little effort? Do you feel 'dumber' than you used it? The cause could be the internet, how you use it, and how it uses you. This book looks into how our use of the internet is changing our brains in both a physical and practical sense. This book really spoke to me and how I have felt about my own mental capacities over the last 3 or 4 years. There are loads of scientific studies explained in this book along with some advice on how you can start to change your relationship with the internet to help reverse this trend. ( )
  Brian. | Apr 4, 2021 |
Very well-researched and important text. I quibble, though: The book deals very skillfully with aspects of the digital and the neurological, but skips even the briefest mention of the human connection element in-between. ( )
  irrelephant | Feb 21, 2021 |
This book has been on my wishlist since it came out, by manner of speaking. But I kept postponing the purchase. The influence of the Internet on our brains... If such a subtitle doesn't entice you to find out about today's society and the use of computers and other electronic gadgets that connect to the internet.

Nicholas Carr describes in a very accessible style how important the human brain is, how plastic/moldable/adaptable it is to process the things we learn, see, do, etc... How it works with the neurons, synapes, and so on. How memory works, very important throughout the book. And foremost, how the Internet, or how we use it, has impacted the brain's ability to no longer help us in certain situations. How we (easily) forget things we used to memorize for later use.

We use the Internet for almost everything: storage of pictures, text, videos, and so on. The memory part of our brain was given up, outsourced to the Internet. This makes it easy, of course, to look up stuff: maps, road directions, images, information about anything (products, history, locations, food, ... everything).

There's a nice explanation about how, for example, Google came to be, how it expanded its services and activities to facilitate life for people/us. How it wants to hold all knowledge, for you to look up in the blink of an eye. How the search function is now tailored: instead of a term, it gives suggestions, so you don't have to think anymore how to use th search function, let alone decide which website would best answer your question with regards to your search.

Everything on the Internet is programmed to make life easier. Easier as is: you don't have to work your brain anymore to memorize stuff. The Internet is your friend, has all the knowledge you want. All you have to do is type a word and click a button or link. Then the desired info will be presented to you, in bits and pieces, because that's easier to digest than a long text which you have to read yourself and process to extract/memorize what you deem important. And so on.

Carr, based on several studies and articles from specialists, writes that in this way we have given up our ability to think for ourselves, to use our brains to make calculations, to know about stuff (again: locations, history, products, ...), ... to stay focused for a long time on a certain task.

Staying focused long on one task has become tedious and very difficult these days, since the Internet offers much distractions: images, videos, hyperlinks, ads, notifications on social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.), etc.

--> One very nice quote from the book: "The influx of competing messages that we receive whenever we go online not only overloads our working memory; it makes it much harder for our frontal lobes to concentrate our attention on any one thing. The process of memory consolidation can't even get started. And, thanks once again to the plasticity of our neuronal pathways, the more we use the Web, the more we train our brain to be distracted - to process information very quickly and very efficiently but without sustained attention. That helps explain why many of us find it hard to concentrate even when we're away from our computers. Our brains become adept at forgetting, inept at remembering. Our growing independence on the Web's information stores may in fact be the product of a self-perpetuating, self-amplifying loop. As our use of the Web makes it harder for us to lock information into our biological memory, we're forced to rely more and more on the Net's capacious and easily searchable artificial memory, even it it makes us shallower thinkers."
Carr also describes, in the context of the tempting character of the Internet, how much time we spend on the computer, tablets, smartphones, ... to check for updates. True (and I too plead guilty, yes), and you only have to look at the number of people in the train or on the street checking their smartphones every x seconds or clinging to it as if their lives depended on it.

About being distracted vs concentrated: I do remember that I could read a book for hours in a row, but since several years this is hardly the case anymore. Maybe for an hour or so, then I want to read/see/do something else. Or even when I'm on the Internet, I feel like checking several sites (and e-mail) at once, failing to concentrate on one thing at a time. Reading online articles = skipping the large parts and just read the introduction, a bit of the middle, and the end. Whereas when I read something on paper, I do (or tend to) read the whole thing more attentively. That's also why I've decided to spend more time reading books (real ones, no e-books) again, to (re-)learn to focus, to use my own imagination, to use my brain again for what it was conceived, and not outsource it all to servers and corporations whose only or main interest is money. Of course, reading books is also one means to rein in my restless mind.

Carr is not calling for a crusade against the Internet. It is an interesting and helpful tool to expand your knowledge and make contact with other people. But he does warn you, more than once, that we are so easily tempted, caught by the distractions that we don't realize anymore how much the Internet has been a part of our lives, how many of us can't live without it anymore. That there is a world out there, but most importantly, that your brain could use time off on a regular basis, as this will only be beneficial to us all. And I confess, that I too appreciate the ease of use, the amount of info, the ways to contact people all across the world (here I greatly value the Internet, since back in the day I would not see myself pen-palling with someone. Maybe I would have, were the Internet not this huge, this dominant in my life), etc...

In this digital age, Nicholas Carr has written a very important book about our use of the Internet, about the impact on our thinking, our memory, and our doing. No wonder so many people call for more nature, more places to come to rest, to be disconnected now and then from the ratrace in today's society. I can therefore heavily recommend "The Shallows" to everyone! ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 169 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Like the majority of contemporary books, then, The Shallows does not justify its length: its natural form was always that of a pithy provocation, so as an argument for the superiority of book-length prose it is rather self-defeating.
adicionada por mikeg2 | editarThe Guardian, Steven Poole (Sep 11, 2010)
 
Carr’s ability to crosscut between cognitive studies involving monkeys and eerily prescient prefigurations of the modern computer opens a line of inquiry into the relationship between human and technology. Hopefully, other writers will follow.
adicionada por lorax | editarA.V. Club, Ellen Wernecke (Jun 3, 2010)
 
His new book is an expanded survey of the science and history of human cognition. ... Mr Carr’s contribution is to offer the most readable overview of the science to date. It is clearly not intended as a jeremiad. Yet halfway through, he can’t quite help but blurt out that the impact of this browsing on our brains is “even more disturbing” than he thought.
adicionada por tim.taylor | editarThe Economist (sítio Web pago)
 
Carr is a beautiful writer. His word choice, his syntax, his sequencing... all great.
 
Born in 1959, Carr straddles the book-dominated and web-dominated worlds and is at home in both. Members of his generation, he believes, have lived their lives as a “two-act play,” consisting of an analogue youth and a digital adulthood. You could conclude that when the people educated after, say, 1990 die, there will be, in the strictest sense, no literary culture left to speak of. Mild-mannered, never polemical, with nothing of the Luddite about him, Carr makes his points with a lot of apt citations and wide-ranging erudition. Either he is very well read or he is a hell of a Googler.
 

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Nicholas Carrautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Pietiläinen, AnttiTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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And in the midst of this wide quietness

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In 1964, just as the Beatles were launching their invasion of America's airwaves, Marshall McLuhan published Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man and transformed himself from an obscure academic into a star.
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As we enjoy the Internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Carr describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by "tools of the mind"--from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer--and interweaves recent discoveries in neuroscience. Now, he expands his argument into a compelling exploration of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences. Our brains, scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. Building on insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a case that every information technology carries a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. The printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In contrast, the Internet encourages rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information. As we become ever more adept at scanning and skimming, are we losing our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection?--From publisher description.

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