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Dedicated to Nyani Ngabu: Book on How the Internet is making us Stupid!

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by Companero, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    'The Shallows': Is the Net Fostering Stupidity?

    Nicholas Carr's new book faults Google for being "in the business of distraction" and Twitter for being neurological heroin

    The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
    By Nicholas Carr
    Norton; 276 pp; $26.95
    Have you ever worried about your annoying need to go to Google (GOOG) because you couldn't remember something? Have you wondered about your constant desire to check your e-mail, Twitter account, or favorite blog rather than read a great book or enjoy a beautiful day?
    If you haven't yet, you will after reading Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. The book, an expansion of his 2008 article in The Atlantic, makes a compelling case that such fears are justified. Our constant inundation with electronic stimuli, he argues, is actually changing the brains's wiring. As we choose among all those enticing Web links, process blinking online ads, or get our Facebook fix, we are also sapping our neurological ability to remember facts or pay attention long enough to fully digest what we read. Those who didn't experience life before Google-or have already forgotten it-may even have a harder time generating the same empathy or interest in their fellow man.
    If that sounds like an apocalyptic anti-technology rant, give Carr a chance. A prolific blogger, tech pundit, and author, he cites enough academic research in The Shallows to give anyone pause about society's full embrace of the Internet as an unadulterated force for progress. One study he refers to shows that people watching a CNN news spot retained far more information without the headlines scrolling by at the bottom of the screen. Another shows that the more links there are in an article, the lower the comprehension of the reader. A third indicates that our brains automatically overvalue information simply because it's new. Carr quotes neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, who says we are "training our brains to pay attention to the crap." Perhaps most scary, the Brain & Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California found that while the brain's response to physical pain shows up immediately on neurological scans, people must pay attention for a longer time before their brain shows telltale signs of caring about someone else's pain. Carr's takeaway: "The more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctly human forms of empathy, compassion, and emotion."
    Carr lays out, in engaging, accessible prose, the science that may explain these results. One key is the brain's shortage of so-called working memory, the mechanism that sifts through the avalanche of real-time information that swamps our senses and selects the important bits for incorporation into our long-term memories and insights. It turns out there's only room for two to four items at a time in this neural way station-not nearly enough to keep up with a website packed with links, videos, and RSS feeds. While the mind of the book reader considers what's important at its own pace, the Netizen's brain has to choose much more quickly and haphazardly. As a result, our ability to make the most of the input is diminished, and we become "mindless" consumers of data. This may also explain why sometimes it becomes harder to concentrate the longer you spend browsing the Web.
    Unsurprisingly, many of the Internet companies that we have come to live by don't fare well under Carr's gaze. While Twitter is a powerful tool for good in the hands of protesters in despotic lands, he writes that its very motto-"Discover what's happening right now"-might as well be an advertisement for a neurological heroin that trains your brain to be even more distracted. And while Google's geeky founders may truly believe in their stated objective "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," Carr argues that Google is, "quite literally, in the business of distraction." After all, the more links you click on, the more money the company makes.

    While Carr believes the Internet is a revolutionary tool for finding information, he also suggests that it may be a dangerously powerful impetus to groupthink. As evidence, he suggests a study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke suggesting that multitasking makes people "more likely to rely on conventional ideas and solutions rather than challenging them with original lines of thought." And a University of Chicago study showed that academic papers began citing fewer sources, not more, after publications began going online.
    Taken to its extreme, Carr's arguments suggest the Internet Age is less likely than previous eras to produce Einsteins, Edisons, and Tolstoys. Such extraordinary people were not forever distracted from their work by 140-character bursts or incessant YouTube videos. Nor were they tempted to throw their semi-finished work out on the Web, safe in the knowledge that they could easily update it later. Indeed, Carr argues, they owe their mastery, in part, to the difficulty of achieving it. Absorbing entire hard-to-find texts-rather than forever Googling random facts-may have been a key to their development.
    Even though the book is only now hitting shelves, many Internet devotees will undoubtedly take its thesis as pure quackery. Presented with Carr's arguments, Theodore Gray, co-founder of search engine provider Wolfram Research, told me: "It's very easy to look back and point to Voltaire and Einstein and great literature and figure we're all just ignorant fools compared to the past. There are a lot of people who think deeply. Thanks to the Internet, they are able to think more deeply about more things." Ray Kurzweill, an author, entrepreneur, and futurist, also thinks Carr's argument is bunk. "We have many more people engaged in thinking and writing about issues than ever before. There are 200 million blogs in China alone-despite the censorship."
    These critics certainly have a point. The best of us will benefit hugely from the Internet. As with any form of new technology, how you use it dictates its usefulness. Regardless, Carr seems to understand that his arguments will not slow down the Netification of society. Nowhere in the book does he bother to offer any actual prescriptions for the problem he sees.
    Carr, however, fears the Internet will actually cause the brain to take its first step backward in centuries. Our cave-dwelling ancestors were consumed with immediate concerns-run from the lion, kill the mastodon, get out of the rain. Then various media provided an abstract way of thinking about the world. The map helped us explore other lands, establish trading routes, and draw up battle plans. The clock and calendar raised our productivity by enabling us to organize our time. Then came writing. Over time, especially after Gutenberg, the book turbocharged our ability to think conceptually and deeply about the world around us.
    Americans now spend 8.5 hours a day frenetically interacting with their PCs, TVs, or, increasingly, the smartphones that follow them everywhere. In the process, writes Carr, we are reverting to our roots as data processors. "What we're experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: We are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest."
    Whether Carr is right or not isn't really the point. Other than obvious problems such as child porn and online fraud, there's been very little hesitation or contemplation about the side effects of the Net as we race to take advantage of its bounties. At the very least, Carr will have done an important service by making people think just a bit differently the next time they find themselves Twittering their hours away. It may be more than a waste of time. It may also waste our brains.
    STATS

    8.5

    Number of hours per day Americans spend interacting with a PC, TV, or smartphone
    30-40

    Number of times per hour that American office workers check their e-mail
    2,272

    Average number of monthly texts sent and received by American teenagers, fourth quarter 2008
    Data: Ball State University; The Shallows; Nielsen
     
  2. Gaijin

    Gaijin JF-Expert Member

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    mmmh ..................

    he forgot some of us use the internet or phone to read good and informative books.

    but he has a very good point.............hii internet na smart phones zimekuwa janga kwa vijana wa chini ya miaka 25 naweza kusema
     
  3. Kiranga

    Kiranga JF-Expert Member

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    Internet ni kama moto, unaweza kuutumia moto kupikia au kuunguza nyumba. Unaweza kuitumia internet kusoma vitabu na kufanya research au kuangalia strip-tease videos za Youtube.

    Mimi nipo kwenye internet sana, lakini pia nasoma vitabu sana. Kama kuna tatizo, si internet, bali ni sisi wenyewe na discipline zetu.
     
  4. Gaijin

    Gaijin JF-Expert Member

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    vijana wengi huwa bado hawana self discipline ............ndio hao wanaoathirika zaidi na internet.

    watoto siku hizi ana miaka 6 anajua kutumia internet tayari...................sasa mtoto huyu kama hujam drill na self discipline hii net kwake itakuwa mbaya kuliko uzuri.

    Sielewi kwa nini mtu mzima aathirike sana hivyo na net......................unless u have no social life na muda mwingi uko mpweke bila ya cha kufanya
     
  5. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    Labda ninyi hamguswi. Ila humu kuna vijana wanaangalia youtube 24/7. Hao ndio walengwa.
     
  6. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Sio kila kitu kwenye Youtube ni kibaya au ni burudani tu. Kuna vitu vingi sana vya kuelimisha. Kwa mfano unaweza ukajifunza mengi sana kuhusu Salt water crocodile na kuwaona angalau kwa macho (ingawa ni kupitia youtube) kuliko kuwasoma tu kwenye mavitabu na kuona michoro yao.

    Kwenye youtube unaweza kuona jinsi wanavyofanya surgery ya ku-repair a torn muscle (say a biceps muscle). Kama ulikuwa hujui msuli wa binadamu unachanikaje basi unaweza kushuhudia na real life pics kinachotokea mtu achanapo msuli.

    Kwa kifupi, ni jinsi tu ya mtu mwenyewe unavyozitumia nyenzo zilizoko mbele yako. Kuna mengi sana ya kihistoria niliyojifunza kutoka kwenye Youtube. Heck, hebu tafuta Youtube clips za Robert Mugabe alivyokuwa kijana uone jinsi jamaa alivyokuwa smart...
     
  7. s

    sabra Member

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    Re: Dedicated to Nyani Ngabu: Book on How the Internet is making us Stupid!

    Hivi Huyu mlengwa ndo kazi yake kukesha kwenye internet au maanake nini?
    Ninachosema ni kwamba kila kitu duniani kina sura mbili, wema na ubaya. Internet imewezesha dunia kufika ilipo ki maendeleo. Kwa upande wa pili, wanaoitumia vibaya, wanapata madhara. Hata kisu ukikitumia visivyo kinakutoa damu.
     
  8. TIMING

    TIMING JF-Expert Member

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    Companero... i love your way of analyzing things, and i really like your way of educating us!!!

    much love bro'
     
  9. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    Youtube ya mwisho kuangalia ni ipi? Na ya mwisho kuiposti JF ni ipi? Hivi KB is not like daughter like dad?
     
  10. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    Ukitaka kuamini madhara ya hizi teknolojia kwa wanaoziendekeza fanya zoezi dogo - jaribu kuandika insha ya Kiingereza bila 'spell check'!
     
  11. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Ya mwisho kuangalia ni hii hapa ya Malcom X akiwa Oxford.....

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  12. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Au hii ya Mandela...inakufanyaje uwe mjinga?

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  13. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Hebu pata dozi ya Cornel West....

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  14. Kichuguu

    Kichuguu Platinum Member

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    Siyo kila kitu kwenye internet ni kibaya; kwa mfano kutokana na kuwepo kwa internet, idadi ya watu wanopoteza muda wakiwa kwenye strip clubs imepungua kwa kiwango fulani kwa vile watu wanaweza kuangalia pornography wakiwa majumbani kwao kupitia internet, na hivyo kupungunza msongamano wa magari na ajali za barabarani.

    Teh teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! teh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  15. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    NN namba takwimu kamili ya youtube za 'booty' ulizoangalia katika juma moja lililopita halafu uniambie zimekuongezeaje akili!
     
  16. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Takwimu za vitu ninavyoangalia mimi za nini sasa? Akili zangu hazitegemei video clips za youtube. Halafu kwa nini una cherry picky videos za booty peke yake...kwani hakuna zingine? Kwa nini usiombe takwimu za video zinazoelimisha vs. zile zinazoburudisha?

    Nimekuwekea video za mambo ya maana sasa unataka kuhamisha magoli.....mijitu mingine bana ikishindwa hoja inaanza viroja.

    Bottomline ni kwamba kwenye youtube na kwenye mtandao kwa ujumla kuna kila kitu. Jukumu ni lako mwenyewe kuamua unataka uutumije mtandao. Kama unataka kujifunza basi utajifunza mengi - kwani hata Encyclopaedia Britannica nao wapo kwenye mtandao. Na kama unataka porno basi nenda Sex - Porn - Free Porn ukamwangalie Mandingo na akina Jack Napier.

    Kuu-bash mtandao eti kuwa unatufanya tuwe wajinga sio haki kama vile ilivyo kupinga magari eti kwa vile yanaua watu kwenye ajali.
     
  17. Ndahani

    Ndahani JF-Expert Member

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    Ni kweli technologia kama haitumiwi vizuri inaleta balaa kubwa.Kwa mfano, vijana wa kila leo hawajajifunzi kutumia log table au slid rulers kufanya basic mathematics. What should we expect kama kila kitu kitapatiwa ufumbuzi kirahisi bila kuhangaisha kichwa?
     
  18. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

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    NN what is your IQ score?
     
  19. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Higher than yours..
     
  20. Companero

    Companero Platinum Member

    #20
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    Ndio cut and paste answer hizi za internet - hebu goole "Higher than yours" uone!
     
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