How is the internet changing the way you think?
I loved this for its disciplinary perspectives – 167 (and counting) short essays from eminent scientists (physical, biological, social), technologists, designers, editors, authors, makers and artists responding to Edge’s World Question Center‘s 14th annual question, ‘How is the internet changing the way you think?’ (Yes, ‘you’).
There is optimism and pessimism. Themes include the importance of focus, the distributed nature of knowledge and memory, autonomy, alienation, and the new importance of networks.
There is so much to think about here, and it is also a rich resource of references to work in this area.
Visual artists Eric Frischl and April Gornik:
“a leveling of visual information, whereby it all assumes the same characteristics. One loss is a sense of scale. Another is a loss of differentiation between materials, and the process of making. All visual information “looks” the same, with film/photography being the common denominator.”
“The Internet shifts our cognitive functions from searching for information inside the mind towards searching outside the mind. It is not the first technology to do so.”
George Church, director of Harvard’s Personal Genome Project:
“Does the Internet pose an existential risk to all known intelligence in the universe or a path to survival? … Yes; it might fragment the attention span of the Twitter generation. (For my world, congenitally shattered by narcolepsy and dyslexia, reading/chatting online in 1968 was no big deal).”
Lisa Randall, Harvard Physicist:
“The plural of anecdotes is not data — but anecdotes are all I have.”