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Tue Dec 10, 2013, 12:00 AM

How technology is changing our minds for the better

Blame it on the apps. When technology isn't distracting us from driving (causing accidents or at least some unnerving swerving), it's pulling our attention away from work, making us less productive. Smartphone games steal time from our families, and apps suck our downtime into a black hole of "Wait, what time is it?"

We are getting dumber and less compassionate because we are using our phones more than our brains, right? So assert writers like Nick Carr, Jaron Lanier and others. In response, we are planning phone-free vacations and doing weekend tech detoxes. But what if all that thinking about the evils of tech is just wrong or at least overblown?

In "Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better," author Clive Thompson asserts that as technology gets smarter, so are we it is a net gain. Not that our current tools are perfect: "The arguments about the dangers of tech are about consumption. Are we too distracted to be able to focus? I actually agree with some of [those arguments]. Our tools really have been pecking at us like ducks and we have to get away from that. But my book is looking at something different what it means for the individual to express their thoughts and think socially with other people. To bounce ideas ideas off of other people more easily and to solve problems with other people. I found those trends to be very powerful and I was convinced that this was a net boon for most people's everyday thoughts," he says on the TechCrunch video below.


I have mixed feelings about this contention. Being a bit of a Tree Hugger I enjoy walks/hikes without any 'wired' connection. Clears the head. I Day Dream, which for me is a good thing.

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