I found this book just at the time when I was worrying a lot about my own life long addiction to technology, social media and electronic gadgets and also about my kids obsession with their iphones and ipads. The jury is still out on how the increasing use of internet and social media is affecting our lives. Is it for better or worse? What kind of human beings our children are going to be when they grow up with social media and technology being so much part of their lives?
We find most of the commentators whether qualified or not, suggesting that this attack of technology is bad for us, just like they did at the advent of every significant change brought about by technology. Like always there is another side of this story which is more believable because of what history tells us about such changes in our lives. Clive Thompson in this book has told us how we adopt new technologies and then how they become an extension of our own selves.
Since the day humans started writing on dried leaves we have been supplementing our basic human faculties. Paper, recorders, hard drives all have been extending our memories and thus augmenting our minds. Social Media has become a dominant force in its own right, the way we learn has changed completely, more knowledge and information is now available to students. Having made a case for all these technologies, Clive stresses that we must be able to manage the use of these tools for our benefit rather than let them become an agent for mental capability degradation.
“Smarter Than You Think (..) It’s about our future. How are computers improving our memory? How will our social “sixth sense” change the way we learn? Which tools are boosting our intelligence—and which ones are hindering our progress? Smarter Than You Think embraces and interrogates this transformation, offering a provocative vision of our shifting cognitive landscape.”