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Future Minds

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Future Minds

How the Digital Age Is Changing Our Minds, Why this Matters and What We Can Do About It

Nicholas Brealey Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How your computer is altering your mind – and what you can do about it.

Editorial Rating



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Author and scenario planning consultant Richard Watson is clearly torn. One minute, he issues warnings about the negative effects of digital technologies on the brain and human society and discusses his fears that people pay insufficient attention to the possible consequences of these effects. The next minute, Watson is positively giddy and excited by the future potential of that same technology. The possibility of controlling machines with your mind, or improving your mental function by popping a pill, sounds like life in a science fiction utopia. But every utopia carries the possibility that it might turn into a dystopia that traps the human spirit: That’s Watson primary concern and the insight he offers his readers. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone interested in futurism, cyberculture, digital technology or the ethics of human society.


How Is the Computer Altering Your Mind?

Scientists once thought that the brain no longer changed once it matured. Now they know better. “The human brain is probably the most complex structure in the universe, but it has one very simple feature. It is not fixed. It is malleable.” Your brain is “plastic” and changes in response to experience. The proliferation of technology is modifying the human brain in countless ways, with profound implications.

Cyberculture is changing how you concentrate, disrupting your deep thoughts and extended focus in favor of quick and shallow links. Such changes matter because only intense, focused thinking produces major creative breakthroughs. Computers change how you read. While printed text favors methodical reading and reflecting to find meaningful ideas, content on the computer screen lends itself to fragmented reading that seeks superficial bits of data. Reading computerized text strips facts of their context. Similarly, contacting people online allows personal choice and control to flourish, but it reduces “serendipitous encounters” and weakens empathic connections.

“Comparing the differences between generations is fraught with...

About the Author

Scenario planning consultant Richard Watson is the author of Future Files and the publisher of What’s Next, a website dedicated to tracking trends.

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    D. O. 9 years ago
    However I don't agree with many of the arguments, I like the theory that we are being distracted by technology and that we should leave time to reflect and be away from technology to think clearly

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