The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google

W. W. Norton & Company
23
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“Magisterial. . . . Draws an elegant and illuminating parallel between the late-19th-century electrification of America and today’s computing world.”—Salon Hailed as “the most influential book so far on the cloud computing movement” (Christian Science Monitor), The Big Switch makes a simple and profound statement: Computing is turning into a utility, and the effects of this transition will ultimately change society as completely as the advent of cheap electricity did. In a new chapter for this edition that brings the story up-to-date, Nicholas Carr revisits the dramatic new world being conjured from the circuits of the “World Wide Computer.”
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About the author

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and The Glass Cage, among other books. Former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, he has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Wired. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Jan 19, 2009
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780393067873
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Social Aspects / Human-Computer Interaction
Technology & Engineering / Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Over the last decade, and even since the bursting of the technology bubble, pundits, consultants, and thought leaders have argued that information technology provides the edge necessary for business success. IT expert Nicholas G. Carr offers a radically different view in this eloquent and explosive book. As IT's power and presence have grown, he argues, its strategic relevance has actually decreased. IT has been transformed from a source of advantage into a commoditized "cost of doing business"--with huge implications for business management. Expanding on Carr's seminal Harvard Business Review article that generated a storm of controversy, Does IT Matter? provides a truly compelling--and unsettling--account of IT's changing business role and its leveling influence on competition. Through astute analysis of historical and contemporary examples, Carr shows that the evolution of IT closely parallels that of earlier technologies such as railroads and electric power. He goes on to lay out a new agenda for IT management, stressing cost control and risk management over innovation and investment. And he examines the broader implications for business strategy and organization as well as for the technology industry. A frame-changing statement on one of the most important business phenomena of our time, Does IT Matter? marks a crucial milepost in the debate about IT's future. An acclaimed business writer and thinker, Nicholas G. Carr is a former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review.
Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.

Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.

Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes—Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive—even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.
Un potente e inquietante análisis de nuestra dependencia de las nuevas tecnologías, por el autor de Superficiales. ¿Qué está haciendo Internet con nuestras mentes?

¿Somos capaces de decidir qué tareas dejamos en manos del ordenador y cuáles nos reservamos? ¿Dedicamos nuestra atención a lo que queremos? Las nuevas tecnologías suponen un ahorro de trabajo, pero ¿podrían erosionar nuestra libertad?

Cada día, diversas aplicaciones nos ayudan a hacer ejercicio o incluso buscar pareja. Confiamos en una voz artificial que nos guía paso a paso hasta nuestro destino. Las redes sociales nos incitan a recuperar amistades. La automatización es imparable y ya se está apropiando incluso de las profesiones más cualificadas: los software substituyen el ojo clínico del médico, el oído del músico, la mano del arquitecto o la pericia del piloto. Coches que conducen solos, ataques con drones militares... La realidad supera con creces lo que hasta hace poco nos parecía ciencia ficción.

Tejido a base de curiosidades históricas y lúcidas descripciones de las últimas tendencias tecnológicas, económicas, psicológicas y neurocientíficas, Atrapados nos brinda una visión realista y alarmante de un poderoso fenómeno que está determinando nuestras vidas.

Carr lleva años cuestionando las ventajas reales de las tecnologías de la información y favoreciendo el debate sobre un tema controvertido que nos afecta a todos.

La crítica ha dicho...

«De lectura obligatoria para todo aquel que tenga un smartphone.»
Jonathen Safran Foer, autor de Todo está iluminado

«Fascinante y revelador. Atrapados suscita la necesaria reflexión sobre nuestra excesiva dependencia de las máquinas.»
Publishers Weekly

«Atrapados es un ensayo oportuno y actual en el que Nicholas Carr reflexiona sobre las consecuencias nocivas de la tecnología. Su lectura genera ganas de réplica.»
Mercedes Cebrián, Babelia

«Carr demuestra de manera tan elegante como convincente que es el momento de recuperar el arte de pensar y un mundo en el que las máquinas estés supeditadas a las necesidades humanas.»
Donald Norman

¿Qué está haciendo Internet con nuestras mentes?

Este libro cambiará para siempre nuestro modo de entender y aprovechar las nuevas tecnologías.

«¿Google nos vuelve estúpidos?» Nicholas Carr condensó así, en el título de un célebre artículo, uno de los debates más importantes de nuestro tiempo: mientras disfrutamos de las bondades de la Red, ¿estamos sacrificando nuestra capacidad para leer y pensar con profundidad? En este libro, Carr desarrolla sus argumentos para crear el más revelador análisis de las consecuencias intelectuales y culturales de Internet publicado hasta la fecha.

Nuestro cerebro, como demuestran las evidencias científicas e históricas, cambia en respuesta a nuestras experiencias, y la tecnología que usamos para encontrar, almacenar y compartir información puede, literalmente, alterar nuestros procesos neuronales. Además, cada tecnología de la información conlleva una ética intelectual. Así como el libro impreso servía para centrar nuestra atención, fomentando el pensamiento profundo y creativo, Internet fomenta el picoteo rápido y distraído de pequeños fragmentos de información de muchas fuentes. Su ética es una ética industrial, de la velocidad y la eficiencia.

La Red nos está reconfigurando a su propia imagen, volviéndonos más hábiles para manejar y ojear superficialmente la información pero menos capaces de concentración, contemplación y reflexión. Este libro cambiará para siempre nuestro modo de entender y aprovechar las nuevas tecnologías.

Reseñas:
«Absorbente y perturbador. Todos bromeamos sobre cómo Internet nos está convirtiendo, y especialmente a nuestros hijos, en cabezas de chorlito acelerados incapaces de meditaciones profundas. No es ninguna broma, insiste Carr, y a mí me ha convencido.»
John Horgan, The Wall Street Journal

«Una réplica calmada y elocuente a aquellos que afirman que la cultura digital es inofensiva, que afirman, de hecho, que nos estamos volviendo más listos cada minuto que pasa simplemente porque podemos conectarnos a un ordenador y dejarnos llevar por un interminable carrusel de links.»
Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate “Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.

Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.

Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes—Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive—even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.
?◆榮登《紐約時報》暢銷書榜

◆二○一一年普立茲獎非小說類決選入圍

◆Amazon讀者390篇書評,四顆星好評推薦!


Google、Facebook、內容農場......

你每天使用的網路,正在悄悄改變你的大腦!


你是否時不時就坐在電腦前或抓著手機,同時做一大堆事?一下滑滑facebook塗鴉牆、一下用google查資料、一下回line訊息、一下又寫兩句報告,再轉貼個新聞連結?光是忙著處理這些來來去去的訊息就占滿了你的時間和思緒,甚至讓你超過一個月都沒辦法讀完一整本書?


這些現象早在二○○八年就被知名科技評論家卡爾注意到了,他在《大西洋月刊》發表了〈Google讓我們變笨了嗎?〉這篇文章,提出當今網路世代最重要的問題:我們在享受網路帶來的寶藏之餘,是否犧牲了深度思考和閱讀的能力?


廣博還是淺薄?


卡爾於本書中更深入的發展他的論點,探討網際網路在智能和文化層面造成的影響。他彙整了從柏拉圖到麥克魯漢等各個思想家的觀點,以及「智能科技」如字母系統、地圖、時鐘、印刷術和網際網路等演進,說明我們大腦的神經通道是如何因經驗而改變。


相對於印刷的書籍讓我們集中注意力,促成深度又有創造力的思考;網際網路鼓勵我們以打游擊的方式到處採集細碎的資訊,儘管我們因此愈來愈習慣快速略讀,接收的資訊來源也更廣博,但也更容易被干擾打斷,更失去了專注與沉思的能力。如今,我們有愈來愈多的人生體驗,是透過電腦螢幕上閃爍搖曳的符號來完成的。人類在享受便利的網路生活之際,卻面臨了更大的思想危機:我們身而為人的知性與感性,正在慢慢消逝。


《網路讓我們變笨?》結合了人類智能史、腦神經科學和文化評論,全面且深入地探究了現代人的心智狀態。這本書將會永遠改變我們對於媒體和頭腦的想法。


【好評推薦】

王智弘 彰化師範大學輔導與諮商學系教授

李家同 清華大學榮譽教授

李偉文 牙醫師、親子作家、環保志工

洪 蘭 中央大學認知神經科學研究所創所所長

張碧娟 前北一女中校長

梁文道 知名文化評論家

詹宏志 PChome Online網路家庭創辦人


電腦網路迷人風貌下,潛藏著風險。本書指出了這令人心驚的風險。

——王智弘,彰化師範大學輔導與諮商學系教授


每當史上任何一種新技術正以摧枯拉朽之勢在改變人類生活的時候,總會有人不合時宜地唱出刺耳的反調。也許事後大家會嘲笑這種聲音的落伍與可笑;但是更久之後,我們往往才能發現原來這是一段把握到時代變化之關鍵的冷靜低音。說不定這本書就是如此一盆冷水,能夠稍息我們過度火熱而淺薄的情緒。

——梁文道,知名文化評論家


這本書既非不斷堅持憂慮立場的悲嘆之作,亦不是天真樂觀的數位頌歌;卡爾的《網路讓我們變笨?》是一部有深度又充滿驚奇的作品,探索我們「急躁」的性靈在網路時代下的樣貌。不論你透過書頁或螢幕來閱讀,都一定要讀這本書。

——范德比爾特,《馬路學》作者


卡爾仔細地檢視了當代文化最重要的議題:新的數位環境造成的心智和社會變遷。他在書中不偏離重大的議題,以鎮靜的步調拆解了網際網路相關討論時經常出現的陳腔濫調。《網路讓我們變笨?》充滿機智、企圖心,又淺顯易懂,亦真正描述了我們當今詭異的人工新世界。

——喬歐亞,詩人、美國國家藝術基金會前主席


教育的核心,是發展出專心一致的能力。這種能力結成的果實,我們稱為文明。但這一切有可能都要結束了。歡迎進入膚淺時代,人類的反教育過程正要開始。在這本傑作裡,卡爾統合了近年來的認知相關研究,同時委婉地反駁了把科技進展過度理想化的人,真正點出線上生活習慣所造成的危險:我們的頭腦會被重組。讀者將會逐漸發現一個冷酷的事實:我們好像真的把自己搞砸了。

——柯勞佛,《摩托車修理店的未來工作哲學》作者


總結來說,《網路讓我們變笨?》試圖留住人類深思遠慮的心智能力,這些能力在當今看來受到愈來愈大的威脅。卡爾的陳述發人深省,他直言不諱地指出網際網路這個媒體如何改變我們現在的思考方式,以及未來的世代會如何思考,或是不用哪些方式思考。幾乎沒有別的作品比這本書更重要。

——沃夫,《普魯斯特與烏賊》作者


出版社 貓頭鷹(城邦)

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