Tahoe discussion: What is the Internet doing to our brains? | SierraSun.com

Tahoe discussion: What is the Internet doing to our brains?

Staff report
Nicholas Carr will speak Thursday at The Resort at Squaw Creek.
Courtesy photo |

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows – What the Internet Doing to our Brains” and “The Glass Cage,” will talk about the economic and social consequences of the rise of Internet-based cloud computing at a Thursday presentation at Lake Tahoe.

Carr, whose books appear on the New York Times Bestseller List, was a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist. The Atlantic published Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” as the cover story of its annual Ideas issue.

His main argument is the Internet may have detrimental effects on cognition that diminish the capacity for concentration and contemplation. Carr’s 2010 book, “The Shallows,” convincingly shows how newly introduced technologies change the way people think, act and live.

The book focuses on the detrimental influence of the Internet — although it does recognize its beneficial aspects — by investigating how hypertext has contributed to the fragmentation of knowledge.

One of Carr’s major points is the change caused by the Internet involves the physical restructuring of the human brain, which he explains using the neuroscientific notion of “neuroplasticity.”

“Carr’s most serious charge against the Internet has nothing to do with Google and its endless sprawl of hyperlinks. Instead, he’s concerned by the way computers are destroying our powers of concentration,” according to a press release from Squaw Valley Institute, which is sponsoring the event. “Even as Carr bemoans his vanishing attention span, he’s careful to note the usefulness of the Internet, which provides us with access to a near infinitude of information.”

The presentation takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, in the Alpine Ballroom at Resort at Squaw Creek. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with a no-host bar reception.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students; children nine and under are free. All SVI members are always admitted free.

Visit squawvalleyinstitute.org to reserve tickets or learn more about SVI, a nonprofit dedicated to presenting programs that span a variety of topics including the environment; film and entertainment; education; health and wellness; music; world affairs and extreme sports.

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