'Futureproof'

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Nicholas Carr, a widely regarded journalist and author, experienced a rude awakening when he realized that he could no longer drum up the concentration required to read a book. He soon discovered that many of his friends and colleagues reported being similarly unable to calm their minds and read at length anymore, preferring the rapid pace of the Internet to the quiet solitude of the book. In The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Carr synthesizes the history of intellectual technology with today’s burgeoning understanding of brain plasticity, in an attempt to allay his fear that “the tumultuous advance of [the Internet] could…drown out the refined perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that arise only through contemplation and reflection” (222).

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

Jaron Lanier is a preeminent technologist and Silicon Valley pioneer. In You Are Not a Gadget, Lanier artfully and even-handedly argues that today’s prevailing Internet ethos undervalues the individual, and instead places emphasis on the misguided notion of the “hive mind”–the powerful crowd dynamic that breathes life into sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia.

Introducing Futureproof

Six months ago, I was working as a user experience designer in London. After a particularly frustrating day, in an attempt to put my mind as far away from designing software as possible, I picked a book of poems by Pablo Neruda from my shelf and decided that I would memorize them while soaking in the tub. As I started to read the first poem, I immediately sensed that the part of my mind that memorizes poetry was not as I had left it. It seemed severely impaired. What has happened to my mind? Why didn’t I notice this earlier? What else is different? Is anything missing? Who am I now?, I questioned.