Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Is Google Making Us Stupid? - The Atlantic

Illustration by Guy Billout

“When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image. It injects the medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we’re glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper’s site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration.

The Net’s influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen, either. As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations. Television programs add text crawls and pop-up ads, and magazines and newspapers shorten their articles, introduce capsule summaries, and crowd their pages with easy-to-browse info-snippets. When, in March of this year, TheNew York Times decided to devote the second and third pages of every edition to article abstracts , its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the new-media rules.” (Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic)

Computer scientist sees artistic side to father of computer

Computer scientist sees artistic side to father of computer - UChicago News

Photo: UChicago

“Turing is remembered for developing concepts that made modern computers possible, and for leading complex military decoding efforts that proved critical in World War II. But Soare argues that Turing’s landmark 1936 paper on computability theory contains beauty as well as scientific breakthroughs. He compares the concepts in that paper to Michelangelo’s statue, David. ‘Michelangelo and Turing both completely transcended conventional approaches. They created something completely new from their own visions, something which went far beyond the achievements of their contemporaries,’ Soare writes.” (Steve Koppes, UChicago News)

It Started Digital Wheels Turning

It Started Digital Wheels Turning - New York Times

Science Museum Archive/Science & Society Picture Library

“What it may do, though, is answer a question that has tantalized historians for decades: Did an eccentric mathematician named Charles Babbage conceive of the first programmable computer in the 1830s, a hundred years before the idea was put forth in its modern form by Alan Turing?” (John Markoff,

Formatted to Fit Your Screen

Formatted to Fit Your Screen  - FLOW

Photo: Josh Bancroft via Flickr

“It is not that television is no longer a medium, it is that its status as a medium has lost density and gravity—in a word, its status as a medium is diluted. This is why we can read announcements in the paper that YouTube is trying to be ‘more like television’ when it already contains television. Today, television’s relationship to various infrastructures, formats, platforms and protocols may matter more than its relationship to itself as a coherent medium.” (Jonathan Sterne, FLOW)

Affordances, technical agency, and the politics of technologies of cultural production

a dialogue between Gina Neff, Tim Jordan, and Joshua McVeigh-Schulz

Affordances, technical agency, and the politics of technologies of cultural production - Culture Digitally

Image: Culture Digitally

“My problem is that we as academics of technology don’t yet have the theoretical language and tools to talk about these systems. We have rightly corrected technologically deterministic theories to better account for user agency and the social construction of tools. However, I am beginning to think that we may have “overcorrected,” with the pendulum swung too far in the direction of human power, ignoring the serious questions that remain about how tools are designed, how they function socially, and how users are aware of their positions and power.” (Gina Neff, Culture Digitally)