Maybe it’s my philosophy degree yearning for some use, but I really enjoy thinking about how we think. There are all kinds of artifacts, dead ends, recursive loops, and logical puzzles tied up in what we normally consider our rational and logical daily lives.
Being such an incorrigible nerd, I’m loving Jerry Brito’s Surprisingly Free podcasts. First, he had neo-luddite Nicholas Carr to discuss how the internets is making us dumberer. Today, he has Clay Shirky discussing the relationship between collaboration, production, and technology.
Carr took the position that technology shapes the way we think, and attributed a drastic change in Nietzsche’s writing to a simple typewriter. Shirky argues that technological revolutions don’t dictate new thought or work patterns, but are merely passive enablers for unrealized human motivations. Think of all the natural jet pilots born in the 1700’s, who would never fly. In a similar vein, this is what twitter was like in the 1930’s. The same impulse or desire found a less-useful expression in the available technology. It would be hard to justify Carr’s claim that this technology caused people to behave in new ways.