On interruption systems

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Posted 02 Jun 2010 in Technology

This article, from Wired Magazine, is really interesting, and raises questions that are very important for those of us who work with information technology. In my profession the provision of material in a digital environment is increasingly important, but many questions have not yet been adequately answered about how technology aids – and/or hinders – understanding. It has become commonplace to think of hypertext and enhanced interaction as an unambiguous strength of the digital world. Nicholas Carr suggests that a much more complex picture exists – he writes “the Internet is an interruption system. It seizes our attention only to scramble it”.

I don’t share the more pessimistic aspects of his prognosis, but one thing is for sure – as much as we must consider the potential of hyper-linked information, so we must also make sure we do not compromise the benefits of linear learning.

Here’s the full article, and its conclusion:

“What we’re experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilisation. We are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. In the process, we seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting”.



  1. I wish I could write like you as Margaret Laurence once said “When I say “work” I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs.”

    Sent from my iPad 4G


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