“Is the Internet making us stupid?”
This was the provocative question Nicholas Carr asked in an explosive July 2008 cover story for The Atlantic. Two years on, he has followed it up with a book-length analysis of the impact of contemporary digital technology on our neurons—and maybe even our souls. Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains has elicited a massive response, generating controversy not only on The Colbert Report and in The New York Times, but also across the blogosphere. Indeed, the depth and sophistication of much of the debate about the book—especially the thoughtfulness of many online critiques—might be taken as an argument against its thesis.
Barnes & Noble Review’s Andrew Keen recently had lunch in San Francisco with Carr to discover whether the Colorado-based author is as controversial in the flesh as he is in print. What Keen found was a man anything but shallow in his scholarly and provocative analysis of the impact the Internet is having on our culture.
Why widespread use of the Internet may be resulting in a flatter, less interesting culture (2:37).
How digital culture could return us to our “native state” of distraction (1:21).
Carr recommends essential reading about how technology is altering our society, and our minds (0:49).
The paradoxical phenomenon of being alone together on the internet (1:52).