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Adam Gopnik, staff writer for The New Yorker, discusses how books like Dr. Elias Aboujaoude's Virtually You and Nicolas Carr's The Shallows, have been tackling the subject of the Internet and how it changes the way we behave and think.
I agree with Mr. Strauss ... technology is making it more difficult for governments to lie.
And if access to information is essential to the success of a democracy, then technology will (despite its potential missuses) continue to nurture democratic movements.
Technology will always bear within it the potential for abuse, but to the extent it fosters the spread of knowledge, its promise will always outweigh its faults.
I read Mr Gopnik's recent New Yorker article on the Internet and toast. It was a pleasure to read. I am quite caught up in the topic itself, and I wanted to share a few comments and questions that popped into my mind while reading.
First off, I understand the author's need to simplify and condense the material of 20+ books into a short magazine article. That said, I think his trinity (Never Better Was) actually impairs the development of any critical or dialectical concept of the internet. I would say it goes without saying, except Mr. Gopnik didn't say it: the most compelling writing about technology is not simply celebratory, dismissive, or aloof; it is critical and thoughtful. I was happy to see a Walter Benjamin reference in the article, as he is a thinker capable of doing two things at once. In the case of his articles on emerging technologies: mourning AND celebrating; historicizing AND imagining.
I wish Mr. Gopnik would have tempered his dismissal of the ' cartoon historians' with some good history. To begin with, he could have mentioned the ur-source of the "Gutenberg revolution" argument, E. Eisenstein's writings on the printing revolution in Europe. Eisenstein's arguments are compelling, and it is her work that made the argument for the causal connection between the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. But her position is controversial, and has been attacked recently by Adrian Johns (in some public exchanges and in his The Nature of the Book). Two other helpful thinkers of communications technologies are Roger Chartier (who, it should be noted, views the codex--not the printing press, pace Eisenstein--as the truly revolutionary technological innovation) and Carolyn Marvin's When Old Technologies Were New. Please excuse me for being so heavy-handed with the canon. It is not that I am against straw-men arguments, but I do believe that dismantling Clay Shirky's (or Cory Doctorow's, or whoever's) flimsy understanding of a historical argument is not the same thing as dismantling the strong version of that argument.
One further comment: Mr. Gopnik make a "room of one's own" pun early on ("a loaf of their own" I believe it was...); when Powers pulls out the "wise men", wouldn't it have made more sense to talk about how private space has been historically gendered as masculine and aristocratic for those philosophers? Perhaps it would have been appropriate to again return to Wolff's well-known plea for a room of her own, this time addressing directly the gender-charged nature of certain technologies.
I know my comments are essentially asking Mr. Gopnik do to things he wasn't interested in doing in his piece, and, as I mentioned before, I did enjoy the things he DID do. Take these words, please, as comments from an interested and engaged reader.
The internet has made it harder for governments to lie.
Because the images and audio, of what is taking place on one side of the world, can be transmittedby anyone with a cellphone, to all thecorners of the globe within seconds.
The internet has made news reportersof anyone with a cellphone and accessto the internet.
It means that the person living ina hut can connect to someone livingon Park Avenue within seconds,as long as they have access to theinternet.
That is a radical change.
When we used to have to wait fornews reporters to tell us the news.
Imagine the internet during the bombingof Japan, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, American Settlers slaughtering theAmerican Indian, during the Nazi Holocaust.
If we want to do something about it or not, is up to us, but we can't say we didn't know.The internet makes informationaccessible to everyone with aninternet connection instantaneously,to our own personal screen.
I dunno about that Ocarina app...is everybody playing something different in the same ocarina-type tone? That could just be chaos. On the other hand, if people can actually play together, that might be cool. I guess that would require being able to hear only the people listening to the other Ocarina players, not all the people playing.
"... Be careful and realize every key stroke is or can be recorded and used to good or evil ends...And hope this leads to the great middle groundof reason, fairness and Justice ..."
Always remember: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."
Correction: TV has damaged attention span.Documented.
1. Interruptions for commercials2. Infant-level of frame changes (at a rate of blink, blink, blink)
Not to mention how TV has prejudiced kids against old people, against 'boring old' teachers vs. whiz bang special effects.
Please follow up.
The internet is leveling the Information playing field, but at the same time Disinformation is more wide spread.......Be careful and realize every key stroke is or can be recorded and used to good or evil ends... And hope this leads to the great middle ground of reason, fairness and Justice .
The internet is awful because it causes people to waste their time writing dumb meaningless comments to talk shows. Like this one.
It depends on the user. Some people gain a false sense of confidence because they 'read' something on the internet. Yes, there is some great info available; but you've gotta know how to shop Brian. :-)
The Internet is Making Us ...cheat!
it's now so easy for anyone to have NSA sex. is monogamy dead?ie that upstate GOP former congressdude
.. making us BUSY. Now, even shut-ins can be active :)
So, being a shut-in, for whatever reason, no longer cuts you off from the world. You can "speak" to people all over the world for next to nothing. You can contribute your 2-cents for less than 2 cents. So overall, it is a good thing. But you are also exposed to the vast amount of ignorance, stupidity, and lying that remains part of the human condition as well.
too much information...too quickly and too easily.. it can become an addiction that can bring forth anxiety.
The Internet is Making Us ... even more RUDE!
The Internet is Making (some of )Us ... smarter
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