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In Smarter Than You Think, Thompson documents how every technological innovation - from 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’s good of the old.
Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There’s the seventy-six-year-old millionaire who digitally records his every waking moment, giving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life going back decades. There are the courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decade and solved it collaboratively - in only one month.
But Smarter Than You Think isn't just about pioneers, nor is it simply concerned with the world we inhabit today. It’s about our future. How are computers improving our memory? How will our social "sixth sense" change the way we learn? Which tools are boosting our intelligence - and which ones are hindering our progress? Smarter Than You Think embraces and interrogates this transformation, offering a provocative vision of our shifting cognitive landscape.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By A. Yoshida on 03-10-17
Title should be Getting Smarter Through Technology
The title gives the wrong impression that the book will reveal how technology can unleash hidden intelligence. It should have been titled "Getting Smarter Through Technology." It requires action - finding the right technology to fill in your gaps in knowledge or skills. For example, students can learn math through the Khan Academy website - watch math videos and complete exercises. Students are learning complex subjects like algebra and calculus at much younger ages because they can find the resources to teach them those subjects. They no longer have to depend on teacher's curriculum and move with the entire class at the same pace. Also, Internet search engines have allowed us to find answers to the many curious thoughts and questions running through our heads. Obviously, technological advancements have eroded some skills. Just as the invention of writing had eroded the skill of memorization. Technology has shortened our attention span and diminished our writing skills. However, the benefits are enormous and invaluable to those make use of it.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
By RealTruth on 01-12-15
not quite as smart as you think
Although this author makes some good points about the transcendence of machines into humans, on the whole the book is badly thought-through. Granted, I did learn some things from this author, such as about the wearable computer used to document years of some peoples' lives, a year of tweets which could be used to create a book, and the crowd sourcing phenomenon, I don't need to hear this author's opinion about race relations in the United States. After all, he claims to be a native of Toronto. He puts down racial segregation in the US, although he does not appear to be aware of the issues inherent. After all, how many whites want to be killed in a black neighborhood? And there is very little substance to this book other than what I have already mentioned, despite the hype it received in reviews. In summary, most people who claim to be "smarter than you think" are usually lying about their "smarter" qualifications, be they academic or otherwise.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful