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John Brockman

How is the Internet changing the way you think

The internet has had a vast impact on our lives but has it changed the way our minds work. How is the Internet changing the way you think?: the net's impact on our minds and future edited by John Brockman gives the responses of 154 of the Edge thinkers.

There are naturally plenty of variety in what people have to say. There are comparisons with earlier innovations such as language, writing and printing - some see the internet taking us back to a time of two-way communication. Some find it wonderful that so much information is at their fingertips, others see the internet as a terrible time waster. A few ask whether 'digital natives' will have their brains wired differently to the rest of us.

I've had my doubts about earlier books of this nature, but I was hopeful for this one. Some of the early chapters had insightful ideas about where we are heading. I felt, though, that the book was too long, that much of the criticism of the internet was poorly thought out, and that some of the chapters were clearly rushed. Daniel Dennett points out the irony of complaining that the internet reduces your thinking to bite-sized thoughts in a bite-sized chapter of a book. As with earlier Edge questions, I felt that it's more a book to dip into than one to read through.

Note: The earlier version of this book didn't have the How in the title, but seems to be the same book.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews