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Descripción de editorial
A revelatory and timely look at how technology boosts our cognitive abilities—making us smarter, more productive, and more creative than ever
It’s undeniable—technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson delivers a resounding “yes.” In Smarter Than You Think, Thompson shows that every technological innovation—from the written word to the printing press to the telegraph—has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But, as in the past, we adapt—learning to use the new and retaining what is good of the old. Smarter Than You Think embraces and extols this transformation, presenting an exciting vision of the present and the future.
Does technology make us lazy, incapable of thinking smartly about solutions to cultural problems? Does it make us shallower thinkers, ever reliant on computers to help us mold our responses to any issues? In this optimistic, fast-paced tale about the advent of technology and its influence on humans, journalist Thompson addresses these and other questions. He admits that we often allow ourselves to be used by facets of new technologies and that we must exercise caution to avoid this; yet, he demonstrates, digital tools can have a huge positive impact on us, for they provide us with infinite memory, the ability to discover connections between people, places, or ideas previously unknown to us, and new and abundant avenues for communication and publishing. For example, Thompson shares the tale of Gordon Bell, who walks around equipped with a small fish-eye camera and a tiny audio recorder. Bell uses these devices to record every moment of his life, which he records on a "lifelog" on his laptop. Because of these devices, Bell and we, if we embrace the technology lives in a world of infinite memory. Using technology also helps us make connections, not only with old friends on Facebook or other social media but with the world around us as we search for knowledge and facts about it. Thompson points out that "transactive memory" which arises out of our need to understand details and to connect to larger sets of facts outside our own limited social or familial setting allows "us to perform at higher levels, accomplishing acts of reasoning that are impossible for us alone." In the end, Thompson believes, these features of digital tools will allow us to think more deeply and become more deeply connected both as individuals and as a society.