Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Carr

The Question Technology blog (with its stylish logo - a person either escaping from or succumbing to the clutches of technology) directed me to this interview in the Sun: Computing The Cost: Nicholas Carr On How The Internet Is Rewiring Our Brains
Carr, author of the Atlantic article Is Google Making us Stupid and the book The Big Switch: Does IT Matter?

Some other recent writings that cover some of the same ground are William Deresiewicz's essay "The End of Solitude" in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Neil Swidey's "The End of Alone" in the Boston Globe.

While on the topic "mind and technology": in the Feb.12 issue of London Review of Books, Jerry Fodor reviews philosopher Andy Clark's Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action and Cognitive Extension (Where is my mind?) This mind-expanding Extended Mind Thesis (EMT) holds that (Fodor quoting from the foreword)

I bought an iPhone. The iPhone has already taken over some of the central functions of my brain . . . The iPhone is part of my mind already . . . [Clark’s] marvellous book . . . defends the thesis that, in at least some of these cases the world is not serving as a mere instrument for the mind. Rather, the relevant parts of the world have become parts of my mind. My iPhone is not my tool, or at least it is not wholly my tool. Parts of it have become parts of me . . . When parts of the environment are coupled to the brain in the right way, they become parts of the mind.

I don't have an iPhone, but I must get one. Fodor is skeptical to EMT, and says there is a clear gap between the mind and the rest of the world. His conclusion: "Mind the gap. You'll regret it if you don't"

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