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Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better Paperback – August 26, 2014
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“Powerful and rigorously thought out … Smarter Than You Think is excellent and necessary in its entirety, covering everything from the promise of artificial intelligence to how technology is changing our ambient awareness.”
— Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
“[A] lucid and distinctly hopeful study of the ways in which modern tools are changing how we read, think, write, and act.” — The New Yorker
“A well-framed celebration of how the digital world will make us bigger, rather than diminish us.”
“[A] judicious and insightful book on machine intelligence.” — Walter Isaacson, The New York Times Book Review
“[An] entertaining and well-researched celebration of modern communication.” —O Magazine
"We should be grateful to have such a clear-eyed and lucid interpreter of our changing technological culture as Clive Thompson. Smarter Than You Think is an important, insightful book about who we are, and who we are becoming."
—Joshua Foer, New York Times bestselling author of Moonwalking with Einstein
"Almost without noticing it, the Internet has become our intellectual exoskeleton. Rather than just observing this evolution, Clive Thompson takes us to the people, places and technologies driving it, bringing deep reporting, storytelling and analysis to one of the most profound shifts in human history."
—Chris Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Makers, Free, and The Long Tail
"There's good news in this dazzling book: Technology is not the enemy. Smarter Than You Think reports on how the digital world has helped individuals harness a powerful, collaborative intelligence—becoming better problem-solvers and more creative human beings."
—Jane McGonigal, PhD, Author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
"Thompson declares a winner in the cognitive fight between human and computers: both together. Smarter Than You Think is an eye-opening exploration of the ways computers think better with humans attached, and vice-versa."
—Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus
About the Author
Clive Thompson is a contributor for the New York Times Magazineand Wired. He also writes for Fast Company and appears regularly on many NPR programs, CNN, Fox News, and NY1, among other news outlets. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Top customer reviews
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Be you technophile or luddite, this book is worth your time. I read both this book and Nick Carr's `The Shallows' simultaneously and really appreciated both books. Although my personal prejudice is more closely aligned with Carr's, I found this book very helpful in balancing my concerns about technology and the future role that it will play in our lives. While reading this book, I felt that I was getting a glimpse into the not-so-distant future. Wheras 'The Shallows' does a great job in raising awareness of the neurological impact of distracting technology in our lives, this book provided an equally powerful wallop in helping calm some anxieties and excite us with the possibilities of what new technology can do.
Similar to Carr's 'Shallows', Thompson's 'Smarter' provides some new vocabulary to label and comprehend what's going in our internet-saturated world. These new labels, from both books, enable us to think more clearly and more rationally about the modern, digital word.
This is a great example of a well researched "pop sci" book, along the lines of Gladwell, but more evidence based. Clive has an academic style that is fun to read, and will send you too the kindle dictionary occasionally to look up words.
As a NYTimes reporter, he has had access to some facinating people, and also to some facinating robots, i.e. Watson. Overall if you are interested in the impact on technology on memory and knowledge work, grab this book.
Clearly and succinctly put in an interesting read, the author, gives evidence in the case of "how technology is changing literacy". I found the book to have pleasantly optimistic tone balanced with some cautions and reality checks.
The technological present and future may remain good places to be alive.
My Bookbuzz colleague Alan Jordan has done a lot of work with executives on the way they think and make decisions. The key book is Kahneman's "Thinking fast and slow", but we have uses other books such as "This will make you smarter" which we reviewed on Newstalk recently.
With clients we have also covered and solved issues and problems around the impact of the internet on information, decision making, social media and customer behaviour. From "The shallows" to "From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg" and from "Overconnected" to "Future minds" and lately two, what are probably fringe books "Too big to know" and "Present shock". Lets not forget "Future bubble"
It is not overload, it is filter failure
Americans consumed about 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008. The difference between 0.3 and 3.6 zettabytes is ten times the total number of grains of sand on the earth. It's no longer information overload. That is a given. It's filter failure
There is chaos on the information super highway, we can't see the woods from the trees, facts do not exist any more (every fact has an anti-fact on the web), we create our own belief bubbles, in ongoing fight or flight mode, our brains are mush and we are now driven by what the smart phone tells us.
Combine that with a huge overestimation of who or what you think make the decisions, as distinct from your monkey, lizard, elephant, underbelly and/or sub-conscience and you have a cocktail for disaster. Or do you?
Nothing to worry about says Clive Thompson.
In "Smarter than you think, how technology is changing our mind for the better" he talks about how technology makes us smarter and better. The perfect anti book and contrast to the books I mentioned
Technology and the internet are not an either/or concepts. It helps us to be smarter (augmented intelligence, where we use the internet as a tool). It gives eternal memory, where we can recall anything and learn form it. We are creating cognitive diversity where we can test, discuss and distribute our thinking. Allowing us to become conversational thinkers (the way Socrates wanted it). With ALL knowledge at our fingertips. And being able to tap into the collective wisdom of the people we are connected with. Being ambient aware.
Different types of literacy
Technology has also made us more literate (we are writing and reading more than ever with texts, e-mails, tweets, etc.), but is also creating different type of literacy in video, image, data and soon 3D printing. Making the ways to express ourselves richer.
Take a digital Sabbath
If you put it that way, it is difficult to argue. He does make reference to the FOMO syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out), constant distraction and recency effects and the need to be mindful and aware of how you think. Which brings us back to Kahneman. His advice. Take digital Sabbaths. Step out of the stream on a regular basis and meditate.
Watson, the Jeopardy super computer
He ends with Watson, the super computer that can play Jeopardy. Near AI. They are now applying it to help doctors do diagnoses bases on the answers the patient give. In 5 years you will have Watson on your phone.
Your own Watson
Whom will be your digital, ambient, super smart, digital assistant who can help you with memory, knowledge, thinking and a lot more. And what will happen then? That is how Clive Thompson ends the book. How should you respond when you get powerful new tools for finding answers? Think of harder problems to solve.
The future is bright.
Why is this relevant to business?
Watson can and will also advice on best buy, best price, best customer feedback. If it makes people better, it will make businesses better. In fact all rules apply. Think data, improvement, innovation, access to knowledge and a double edge sword. If you don't, your competitor will.
Most recent customer reviews
Clive Thompson poses an interesting read in his text, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better.Read more