Late Threat of the Internet Summary (Tues, group 1)

This is really late but realized I never posted my notes from Threat of the Internet week. Won’t post a whole transcript but here’s a quick summary just for the record…

–          I picked up on some of Mangen’s points on distraction, linking them to Carr’s idea of the Internet as a distraction tool, which overloads the working memory, meaning we are unable to commit things to long term memory. I mentioned Carr’s suggestion that like Maps and Clocks the Internet is an “Intellectual technology” that provide us with a framework through which we conceptualize the world. This could be one argument for why it seems to have such an influential effect on our habits and behaviors.

 –          I looked at Joe Kraus’s concept of “Slow tech”. Although it needs a lot more development I like the idea of a practical and academically driven movement that takes into account the positive as well as negative sides of technology and the internet. Kraus has based his career on technology and is therefore not suggesting we stop using it. However he is advocating the abolishment of multitasking (which he argues is highly ineffective) and that we make conscious steps to mitigate technology’s pervasive influence over our interpersonal relationships. Notable points include the statistic that one loses about 10IQ points (twice the amount as we lose when stoned) and ironically processes information 40% slower when multitasking. Also his discussion of “Gap Time” is interesting.

–          I looked at Scanning and talked briefly about eye tracking examples that demonstrate how we scan web pages devoting very little, if any attention to chunked text. There is a lot of material online showing companies how they can make use of this and tailor their websites to accommodate these habits, surely over time this will result in a fundamental change in the way web pages are presented? Is it a good thing to adapt to these new habits, is this simply contemporary evolution or should we make more effort to resist them?



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