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Nicholas Carr delves into what the Internet is doing to our brains

Loyola press release - April 8, 2013

Is Google making us stupid? Pulitzer Prize finalist Nicholas Carr poses this question in his upcoming talk, “The Mind in the Net,” which takes place Wednesday, April 17 at Loyola University New Orleans. Free and open to the public, the talk is set for 7 p.m. in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall located in the Communications/Music Complex on Loyola's main campus.

Carr will discuss how the Internet is changing us, describing how the endless bounty of information on the Net is sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply. According to Carr, human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet, to maps, to the printing press, the clock and the computer. He says the historical and scientific evidence reveals that our brains change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store and share information can literally re-route our neural pathways.

Carr makes the case that while printed books focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources.

“We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation and reflection,” said Carr.

Carr’s presentation is the final talk in Loyola’s Presidential Centennial Guest Series developed by President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., with the help of Mary Matalin and James Carville, to provide an array of cultural, artistic, Catholic and intellectual perspectives.

Nicholas Carr writes about technology, culture and economics. His most recent book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” is a 2011 Pulitzer Prize nominee and a New York Times bestseller. Carr is also the author of two other influential books, “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google” (2008) and “Does IT Matter?” (2004). His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Carr has been a columnist for The Guardian in London and has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, The New Republic, The Financial Times, Technology Review and many other publications. His essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” has been collected in several anthologies, including The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009, The Best Spiritual Writing 2010 and The Best Technology Writing 2009.

Free parking is available in the West Road Garage accessible from St. Charles Avenue. For more information, please contact Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs.