This week on the Sunflower blog we’re talking about technology and its potential to both enhance and complicate our lives. This is the first post in the series. Check out more thoughts on the subject from Victoria and Jaime.

Have you noticed that there are lots of questions about how the use of technology affects our lives in the media these days? Here is some of what I have been reading on the subject.

Although those who idolize or demonize the internet have voiced their viewpoints for two decades, Nicholas Carr added a huge spark to the current fiery dialogue in the summer of 2008. Found this date on Wikipedia.

It was then that The Atlantic published his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He argues that our use of the internet might be detrimental to our cognition and negatively affecting concentration and the ability to think deeply. His latest book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to our Brains,” continues the argument and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Just started reading it on my Kindle.

A fascinating paperback presents a tsunami of answers to the question for 2010, Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? Editor John Brockman posed the question to more than 150 of the world’s most influential minds. omg, my daughter- in- law just texted me that a tornado blew through her neighborhood!

How did they answer? Some excerpts:

“The sense of contrast between my online and offline lives has turned me back toward prizing the pleasures of the physical world. I now move with more resolve between each of these worlds, choosing one, then the other—surrendering neither.” Linda Stone, high tech consultant and former executive with Apple and Microsoft.

“The Internet is stealing our attention….A lot of what it offers is high-quality competition. But unfortunately, a lot … merely good at capturing our attention and provides us with little of long-term import- sugar filled carbonated sodas for our mind.” Rodney Brooks, MIT Professor of Robotics and author of Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us

“Answering this question should be a slam dunk, right? After all thinking about thinking is my racket. Yet I must confess to being perplexed. I am not even sure we have good evidence that the way humans think has changed by the advent of the printing press…” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Psychologist and author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

The third book I have been reading is a hardcover, personally signed, real paper edition that feels and smells soooo good- Richard Louv‘s “The Nature Principle.” I posted an essay of his on Facebook last week. Here’s what Richard has to say about technology:

“The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need to achieve natural balance… Utilizing both technology and nature experience will increase our intelligence, creative thinking, and productivity, giving birth to the hybrid mind.” I explored this idea in an earlier blog.

I guess it’s easy to see my immersion in old (books) and new technology. Lol!

Let’s start our own dialogue. Are you an internet junkie? Addicted to your smart phone? Or do you purposely stay low tech? Is Facebook a lifeline or are you happy to do without? What do YOU think?

© Susan Caruso and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011