It’s a complaint we’ve all heard about the internet: all the cat videos and incessant celebrity gossip sites are making us, as a culture, stupider.
However, digital community expert Howard Rheingold, doesn’t think that’s the case. In fact, he believes that both designing and using digital media can actually improve our intelligence. As Rheingold sees it, human beings have the unique ability to build tools — like alphabets, speech, writing, and printing — that leverage our ability to think and cooperate. When it comes to computers and the Internet, Rheingold says there’s potential for us to systematically direct the evolution of intelligence.
Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter? examines the origins of digital mind-extending tools, and lays out the foundations for their future. In it, Rheingold proposes an applied, interdisciplinary science of mind amplification. He also unveils a new protocol for developing techno-cognitive-social technologies that embrace empathy, mindfulness, and compassion — elements lacking from existing digital mind-tools.
Mind Amplifier is available for the Kindle, Nook and iBookstore, and you can also download it through the TED Books app. Below, watch Rheingold’s TEDTalk.
Howard Rheingold: The new power of collaboration
Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group, says Rheingold. In this talk, he envisions the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action.
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