Why the Internet Isn’t Making Us Stupid | V.I.A read! ;)

Nick Bilton lives in the future. But he knows the rest of us aren’t there yet, so he offers up I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works — a book from his world on what we all might be in store for down the road. It’s a world The New York Times reporter and lead Bits blogger inhabits so fully it has gotten him in trouble at work (when he admitted publicly in 2009 that he doesn’t read the print edition of the newspaper) and into public spats, defending Twitter’s honor against New Yorker writer, George Packer. Bilton talks to TIME about what the media industry can learn from the porn industry, why you should let your kids play video games and why the Internet isn’t making us dumb.

Your book is called I Live in the Future…, so why print a paper book?
These analog models — they still work, for the most part. The perfect example of that is the fact that The New York Times sells a million copies of the print paper every day. So when I thought about what the best way was to get my message across a book format was the best way to do that. But I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a book — that it was a fully interactive experience — on nickbilton.com you can watch videos that I’ve created, you can comment on chapters, things like that.

You provide a lot of counter-arguments to those things people always say about the Internet and technology. For one, why should you let your kids play video games?
They are incredibly good for our brains. They increase hand-eye coordination, they increase working memory, kids that play video games in a balanced way perform better on certain test scores. And to tell kids that they cannot have access to these technologies is essentially like telling a kid that they couldn’t read a book when the printing press came out. Not giving kids access to this stuff is going to hurt them in the long run.

That was quite a kerfuffle between you and George Packer [of the New Yorker] over Twitter. What are the takeaways?
This happened at the time when everyone was still defending Twitter or lambasting it. When I first started engaging with Packer I was a bit abrasive. I was fed up with the ‘Twitter is a waste of time’ line because it’s the complete opposite for many of us who use it. What happened after, as we started to discuss online, I came to understand completely where he was coming from. He was coming from a place where he is comfortable with his newspaper, the quiet car on the train, all of these things, and the idea of those things being taken away just didn’t make him feel good. What I really tried to do with that chapter in my book was to try and explain that, if you use it in the right way, Twitter can actually be extremely beneficial to the way you navigate content on the web. It’s understandable that people are afraid of it because it’s new, it’s different and it looks like this uncontrolled anarchy is taking place, but in reality it’s actually extremely useful.

You say you use Twitter as your own personal newspaper?


Nick Bilton lives in the future. But he knows the rest of us aren’t there yet, so he offers up I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works — a book from his world on what we all might be in store for down the road. It’s a world The New York Times reporter and lead Bits blogger inhabits so fully it has gotten him in trouble at work (when he admitted publicly in 2009 that he doesn’t read the print edition of the newspaper) and into public spats, defending Twitter‘s honor against New Yorker writer, George Packer. Bilton talks to TIME about what the media industry can learn from the porn industry, why you should let your kids play video games and why the Internet isn’t making us dumb.

Your book is called I Live in the Future…, so why print a paper book?
These analog models — they still work, for the most part. The perfect example of that is the fact that The New York Times sells a million copies of the print paper every day. So when I thought about what the best way was to get my message across a book format was the best way to do that. But I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a book — that it was a fully interactive experience — on nickbilton.com you can watch videos that I’ve created, you can comment on chapters, things like that.

You provide a lot of counter-arguments to those things people always say about the Internet and technology. For one, why should you let your kids play video games?
They are incredibly good for our brains. They increase hand-eye coordination, they increase working memory, kids that play video games in a balanced way perform better on certain test scores. And to tell kids that they cannot have access to these technologies is essentially like telling a kid that they couldn’t read a book when the printing press came out. Not giving kids access to this stuff is going to hurt them in the long run.

That was quite a kerfuffle between you and George Packer [of the New Yorker] over Twitter. What are the takeaways?
This happened at the time when everyone was still defending Twitter or lambasting it. When I first started engaging with Packer I was a bit abrasive. I was fed up with the ‘Twitter is a waste of time’ line because it’s the complete opposite for many of us who use it. What happened after, as we started to discuss online, I came to understand completely where he was coming from. He was coming from a place where he is comfortable with his newspaper, the quiet car on the train, all of these things, and the idea of those things being taken away just didn’t make him feel good. What I really tried to do with that chapter in my book was to try and explain that, if you use it in the right way, Twitter can actually be extremely beneficial to the way you navigate content on the web. It’s understandable that people are afraid of it because it’s new, it’s different and it looks like this uncontrolled anarchy is taking place, but in reality it’s actually extremely useful.

You say you use Twitter as your own personal newspaper? Leer más “Why the Internet Isn’t Making Us Stupid | V.I.A read! ;)”

Nick Bilton’s new book puts Google, GPS, Twitter, Facebook, and your iPhone in proper perspective

Does Facebook make you nervous? Terrified that Google will make you stupid? Alarmed by the frequency and brevity of Twitter? Offended by people talking and texting on their smartphones? Made nauseous by iPads? Compelled to vomit at the sight of somebody reading a book on an iPad? Filled with Orwellian horror by GPS devices? Scared witless at the prospect of what Vinton Cerf calls an “Internet of Things” that will eventually connect the status—lost, unpaired, mismatched, being worn—of your socks to the Internet?

Then I’ve got the book for you: Nick Bilton’s I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted. Bilton, currently the lead writer of the New York Times’ Bits blog, has good news for those who dread our technological present, panic about our future, and pine for the days when you actually dialed a phone call, just three TV networks did business, and computers, which were the size of a VW microbus, were kept in big, air-conditioned rooms.


Digital Native Calms the Anxious Masses

By Jack Shafer

Does Facebook make you nervous? Terrified that Google will make you stupid? Alarmed by the frequency and brevity of Twitter? Offended by people talking and texting on their smartphones? Made nauseous by iPads? Compelled to vomit at the sight of somebody reading a book on an iPad? Filled with Orwellian horror by GPS devices? Scared witless at the prospect of what Vinton Cerf calls an “Internet of Things” that will eventually connect the status—lost, unpaired, mismatched, being worn—of your socks to the Internet?

Then I’ve got the book for you: Nick Bilton’s I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted. Bilton, currently the lead writer of the New York Times Bits blog, has good news for those who dread our technological present, panic about our future, and pine for the days when you actually dialed a phone call, just three TV networks did business, and computers, which were the size of a VW microbus, were kept in big, air-conditioned rooms.

Bilton’s conversational book helps readers understand the current technological upheaval by placing it against the backdrop of previous disruptions. He points to, for example, the arrival of the telephone and cites one Cassandra who predicted in the March 22, 1876, New York Times (PDF) that the experimental device “by bringing music and ministers into every home, will empty the concert-halls and the churches.” On Nov. 7, 1877, the Times reported that the phonograph was going to eclipse the telephone and kill public speaking and reading:

Why should we print a speech when it can be bottled, and why would [the next generation] learn to read when some skillful elocutionist merely repeats a novel aloud in the presence of a phonograph. Instead of libraries filled with combustible books, we shall have vast storehouses of bottled authors. Leer más “Nick Bilton’s new book puts Google, GPS, Twitter, Facebook, and your iPhone in proper perspective”

What We’re Reading: Relationships


Image representing New York Times as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

The tech reporters and editors of The New York Times found these articles on the Web provocative… Leer más “What We’re Reading: Relationships”