Ontological implications

15. New Media, Ancient Humans, Old Brains

  • We can't/won't rewire humans overnight.
  • New/Digital media will have to fit the ways that we are, now, or only early adopters will stay with it/them
  • In some ways, we are always been multi-taskers. Few have/had singlular focus.
    • Activities like reading complex material requires deep concentration and encourages single point focus.
    • Many flow activities encourage concentration and single point focus. Some flow activities include new media participation (gaming, simulations, creative production, etc.). Most of these activities require complete mastery before one can rapid switch away and still be proficient
    • Seeking single point focus is a very old concept: see Buddhist (and other such) spiritual philosophies. Few people are very good at it (young or old).
    • New media have introduced an enormous number of new potential inputs/interactions. We are in a transitional period, a time when the old rules don't work and the new rules have yet to be worked out.
    • Focus DOES leave out LOTS of other stuff... tunnel vision is not always good.
  • There is a concerted effort to build human machines/machine humans--these are radically unique ways to change the new media/old brain interface.

These two people, and their audience, are "true believers."

They are also, however, two of the most engaged, brightest, and least hyperbolic of folks on the "pro-new-media" side of the educational fence. And they deal directly, in this conversation, with many of the issues that we confront in this class and in these concepts about epistemology.

Q&A starts at 27:30 and the video is less interesting after that.

Concept 15 Application Note article:

"The High Price of Multitasking."

Want to learn more?

MIT projects

Franklin Foer. World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. Penguin Books, 2017.
Matthew Crawford, The world beyond your head : on becoming an individual in an age of distraction. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
Mark Andrejevic, How Too Much Information Is Changing the Way We Think and Know, Routledge, 2013.
Cathy N. Davidson. Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. Viking, 2011.

(A) Concept Exams

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