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What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains


Free Resource - November 16th, 2010
Free Resource of the Day

Today we have two free resources about what the digital age is doing to our brains:

What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

William Powers: Hamlet's Blackberry

One thing that probably no one thinks enough about is the effect that the internet and our wired lifestyles are having on our thought processes and our inner lives. In these two talks from the Forum Network two authors discuss their books which examine our relationships to the internet and the digital age.

Nicholas Carr authored The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains and he argues that the internet is basically a medium of distraction and interruption that gives us bite size pieces of information that are sometimes important and often trivial. While the stimulation of being interrupted by the wide variety of information and entertainment the internet has to offer can be very pleasurable, Carr posits that it is leading away from the in-depth contemplation and reflection that the world of books has to offer.

William Powers argues many of the same points as he discusses his book Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. Powers looks at philosophers such as Seneca and Thoreau who sought to escape the busyness of everyday life and he applies their thinking to our digital age. He talks about his family's experiments with disconnecting from the internet on weekends and how stepping away from being wired has been a revelatory experience.

Both talks are sure to get you thinking about your own relationship to the new technologies that our changing our world. They are available on streaming video and MP3 download from the Forum Network.

What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

William Powers: Hamlet's Blackberry

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Wired for Thought: How the Brain Is Shaping the Future of the Internet

In this age of hypercompetition, the Internet constitutes a powerful tool for inventing radical new business models that will leave your rivals scrambling. But as brain scientist and entrepreneur Jeffrey Stibel explains in Wired for Thought, you have to understand its true nature.

The Internet is more than just a series of interconnected computer networks; it's the first real replication of the human brain outside the human body. To leverage its power, you first need to understand how the Internet has evolved to take on similarities to the brain. This engaging and provocative book provides the answer. Stibel lays out:

# How networks have changed and what that implies for how people connect and form communities
# What the Internet - and online business opportunities - will look like in the future
# What the next stage of artificial intelligence will be and what opportunities it will present for businesses.

Stibel shows how exceptional companies are using their understanding of the Internet's brainlike powers to create competitive advantages - such as building more effective websites, predicting consumer behavior, leveraging social media, and creating a collective consciousness.

Available on MP3 Download.

Wired for Thought: How the Brain Is Shaping the Future of the Internet

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The Infinite Mind is an innovative, national, weekly public radio series focusing on the latest in neuroscience, the neurobiology of human behavior, mental illness and wellness.

Each week, the program explores exciting scientific discoveries and cultural phenomena related to our rapidly evolving understanding of the human mind. The show features dynamic discussions with world-leading experts including neuroscientists and clinicians, interviews with celebrities and public figures, special reports, listener calls, first-person accounts by those with mental disorders, author readings, and musical performances.

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