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.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

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

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Technology

Just In