A Smart Take on Technology's Impact on the Mind

In her New York Times review of William Powers' book "Hamlet's BlackBerry," Laurie Winer reminds us that the things we fear losing at the hands of new technology -- reading on paper, for example -- were once themselves contested new inventions.

[T]ry to imagine the fears of the 15th-century Italian scholar who saw Gutenberg's printing press mostly as a license to erode seriousness and to libel others. He wrote: "Because now that anyone is free to print whatever they wish, they often disregard that which is best and instead write merely for the sake of entertainment. . . . And even when they write something worthwhile they twist it and corrupt it to the point where it would be much better to do without such books."

Powers, it seems, moves beyond the debate over whether technology makes us smarter or dumber and focuses on what really matters: how do we learn to cope with it.

Read the full review at The New York Times.

Presented by

Niraj Chokshi is a former staff editor at TheAtlantic.com, where he wrote about technology. He is currently freelancing and can be reached through his personal website, NirajC.com. More

Niraj previously reported on the business of the nation's largest law firms for The Recorder, a San Francisco legal newspaper. He has also been published in The Hartford Courant, The Seattle Times and The Age, in Melbourne, Australia. He's also a longtime programmer and sometimes website designer.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Technology

Just In