January 20, 2011

3 technologies that changed the way we think

The Internet is just one in a series of “intellectual technologies” that have reshaped the way humans think. In the interesting 5 minute video embedded below, Nicholas Carr gives examples of 3 technologies that changed the way we think:

The map
Before the map came along people understood where they were and where they were going through what they saw, heard etc. With the map, the pure visual and auditory and sensory perception was supplemented by an abstract picture, which is a radically different way to think about space. The map trained us to think more abstractly.

The mechanical clock
Before the mechanical clock came along, people experienced time as a natural flow. People measured time by watching the stars, the moon, the sun etc. With the introduction of the mechanical clock, people came to experience time as a series of discreet, precisely measurable units: Seconds, minutes, hours etc. People’s way of thinking became much more scientific.

The printing press
What the book does as a technology is shield people from distraction. In other words, the book gave people a more attentive way of thinking – whether you are paying attention to a story, an argument or whatever.


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