Once you have the basics of a given technological leap in place, it’s always important to step back and focus on the people for a while.
Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget

There is a growing body of literature addressing the intersection of technology, culture, and personal identity. Here are some of our favorite sources.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our BrainsNicholas Carr

Nicholas Carr, a widely regarded journalist and author, experienced a rude awakening when he realized that he could no longer drum up the concentration required to read a book. He soon discovered that many of his friends and colleagues reported being similarly unable to calm their minds and read at length anymore, preferring the rapid pace of the Internet to the quiet solitude of the book. In The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Carr synthesizes the history of intellectual technology with today’s burgeoning understanding of brain plasticity, in an attempt to allay his fear that “the tumultuous advance of [the Internet] could…drown out the refined perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that arise only through contemplation and reflection” (222). Read more...

You Are Not a Gadget: A ManifestoJaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier is a preeminent technologist and Silicon Valley pioneer. In You Are Not a Gadget, Lanier artfully and even-handedly argues that today’s prevailing Internet ethos undervalues the individual, and instead places emphasis on the misguided notion of the “hive mind”–the powerful crowd dynamic that breathes life into sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Read more...