[Humanist] 31.266 as if doomsday: unavoidable uses

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Aug 30 11:40:10 CEST 2017


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 266.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:50:52 -0500
        From: Patricia Galloway <galloway at ischool.utexas.edu>
        Subject: as if doomsday
        In-Reply-To: <mailman.5.1504000802.29486.humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org>


The trouble is that parents, compelled increasingly to work 24/7, are 
using social media and screens in general to babysit their kids. And it 
is becoming harder and harder not to get along without a smartphone for 
things like city services etc. There is, for example, no other way to 
purchase anything in the Newark airport.

Pat Galloway
University of Texas at Austin

On 8/29/2017 5:00 AM, humanist-request at lists.digitalhumanities.org wrote:
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2017 07:48:12 +0200 (CEST)
> From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
> To: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> Subject: [Humanist] 31.264 as if doomsday
>
>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 264.
>              Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                         www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                  Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>          Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2017 06:37:06 +0100
>          From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>          Subject: determinism and the shallows
>
>
> Without having read Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet Is
> Doing to Our Brains, reported by Amazon as finalist for the 2011
> Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction and praised as "a Silent Spring for
> the literary mind" (Michael Agger, Slate), no critical judgment is
> possible. But the ease with which this book thus known slides into the
> category of tiresome doomsday pronouncements raises suspicions if
> not hackles. I'm nevertheless stirred to comment by the evident
> determinism in the subtitle. I am tempted to say that anyone whose
> brain is that passive deserves whatever damage the internet inflicts on
> him or her. Perhaps, now, survival of evolutionary struggle will depend on
> doing more than twittering and facebooking oneself into mindlessness?
> See Charlie Brooker's "Nosedive", Black Mirror, Season 3
> (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosedive) for a taste of that possible future.
>
> Technological determinism is a serious philosophical problem. But to
> focus on just one half of the co-evolutionary cycle of us and our
> inventions is to help realise the story that Carr's book's title implies.
> Or so it seems to me.
>
> My thanks to Marinella Testori for alerting me to the book.
>
> Comments?
>
> Yours,
> WM





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