Joshua Kim reports on what your day on campus might be like if you had access to no devices with screens – on laptop or desktop computer, no cell phone, no tablet. As Kurtz famously said at the end of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, “Oh the horror, the horror.”
Vinton, “Vint,” Cerf is known as the “Father of the Internet.” He is also hearing-impaired, as is his wife. He says that computer interfaces and devices should be much more accessible, and that accessible features should not be an added afterthought. About 360,000,000 people worldwide have a hearing disability, and about one in three households in the US has a member who has a disability. I don’t think anyone could disagree with the idea that the Web and all our devices should be more accessible for people with disabilities. My personal pet peeve is the tiny type used on many websites and in printed materials.
In this post Joshua Kim reviews Adam Alter’s Book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Alter writes about the dangers of consumer technologies. He is worried about the addictive potential of video games, websites, smartphones, and apps. Kim makes the point that when he was a kid, kids didn’t spend their times with their cell phones, because they didn’t have them, but spent their time glued to their television screens.
A sort of amusing post from Joshua Kim. I know some teachers at my college who would like to use no digital technologies in their teaching and their daily lives. All of them to use email. Most of them type documents in Microsoft Word. A few of them still use overhead transparencies in the classroom instead of PowerPoint slides. We had one teacher I know of who was still playing cassette tapes in his classes just a few years ago. Every year it becomes hard to live a no-digital life.
In this post Joshua Kim reviews Robert J. Gordon’s new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth. In the book Gordon questions the idea of a bright future based on technological progress. He compares the rise of American living standards between 1870 and 1970 with what has happened to them since 1970. He concludes that our economic growth going forward will pale compared to the earlier period. For one thing, living standards and the used of various technologies were very low in 1870. He says that developments such as the decline in infant mortality, the prevention of infectious diseases, and the rise of mass schooling are developments that can happen only once. Gordon discusses several factors that have slowed economic growth since 1970, such as rising inequality and crumbling infrastructure, poor schools, rising student debt, the decline of unionization, the erosion of marriage and children being brought up by both parents.
NPR reporter Eric Westervelt interviewed neurologist Adam Gazzely the co-author with Larry D. Rosen, of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World. Dr. Gazzely says that our brains evolved mechanisms to forage for food, but now the same mechanisms in our brains have to forage for information. The authors also write about the distractions we have cope with that limit our attention span. They believe that is impossible to concentrate on one, thing, such as driving at car, while we are multitasking. I will put this book on my to read list. You can find out more about it on Amazon.com:
This article is a review of Jessie Daniels and Polly Thistlethwaite’s new book, Being a Scholar in the Digital Era. Both the authors work of the City of New York University system. In the book they point out how today’s scholars have to live in two worlds: the world of the traditional mode of print-based scholarship and the scholarship of the digital age. They say the major shift in scholarship in this age is the search capabilities of modern search engines.