The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Category: Medicine
Author: Nicholas Carr
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This Month Hacker News 1


by fortuna86   2022-02-21
> Why change the subject?

Lol actually getting off of vague platitudes is "changing the subject". Right, enjoy your weekend.

> You made a false claim

No I didn't, you either misunderstood what I said or deliberately lied about it to argue a strawman, because that's easier than actually addressing what i'm saying.

> The internet is really much, much less dangerous for your mind than reading ordinary newspapers or watching TV news.

Lol. Truly, you made me laugh out loud. Funny you didn't say "is more accurate" - because that would be an impossible claim. You said "is less dangerous" which is also patently false. This book is the beginning of most study on the subject:

It's unequivocal and damning.

by shrugthug   2020-10-31
For anybody interested in diving deeper into this subject, I would recommend reading The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. It was written in 2011, but is still very applicable today. Brain plasticity is a real concept and our constant connection to the Internet affects us.

by ciarannolan   2020-07-06
His book, The Shallows, is an incredible journey into the human/technology relationship. As much as we create and change technology, it likewise changes us.

Worth a read for anyone in tech.

by coldtea   2020-02-18
>0. Search Engines 1. Video Games 2. GPS 3. Medical 3D Imaging (CT/MRI) 4. Genetic Sequencing 5. 3D Printing 6. Autonomous Machines (ground robots, drones)


0. a huge dilution of the concept of expertise (see my other point) and easy access to crap information mixed-in with the good in huge piles,

1. a big waste of time for children/teens/infantilized adults (and a killer of socialization) that's already an "addiction",

2. something ho-hum (I was there in the 90s and 80s before GPS became widespread. We could still walk around towns, find our way, and drive places).

3. OK-ish, still an order of magnitude less helpful in saving lives compared to early low hanging fruits like access to running water, antibiotics, hand-washing in hospitals, etc.

4. Still a yawn atm.

5. A fad if I ever saw one, touted to "change the world" and already nearly forgotten except in enthusiast circles,

6. Something still marginally useful, and with a large potential for a dystopian future (large parts of the population living in slums as their work is not required, drones/robots used to police autocratic states, etc).

>You aren't excited about having all of human knowledge in your pocket?

No. I'm more excited about the output (books, articles, etc) from people pre-2000 (sometimes much pre) who didn't have "all of human knowledge in [their] pocket" and had to study hard, be dedicated, and actually digest the information to consider themselves knowledgable.

As opposed to "instant faux-experts" (people confident to chime in because they've read 2 paragraphs about a subject in Wikipedia - or worse something like some anti-vaxxing website etc), and:

Access to "all of human knowledge" was hardly ever a problem since the invention of the printing press, and even less in the 20th century with libraries, bookstores, media, and so on. Knowing what to read, how to value some piece of knowledge (which could be crap, like 90% of what's on the net is), and understanding of what you've read was a problem since forever.

by g_delgado14   2018-09-01
I don't think that's the reason. It may be the internet itself and our low-attention-span-culture.

I highly recommend you check out "The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains", by Nicholas Carr [0].

[0] -


edit: grammar

by kfnn   2017-08-19
I'm disappointed this article didn't get much attention here. I've loved Carr's 'The Shallows' [1]. Definitely a recommended read for IT people.

by paulojreis   2017-08-19
"The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr might be of interest to you. And, well, to almost everyone here - your symptoms probably already appeared in one way or another to anyone who's reading this.

Personally, while I consider myself pretty disciplined, I feel deeply frustrated (almost angry at myself) whenever I'm actually trying to focus on something and feel the need to also do/see/check/read something else. Not exactly a facebook feed, but I've come to Hacker News while reading. I don't know what's the most commonly accepted definition of addiction, but this certainly feels like it.