Keen On… Clive Thompson: Could Technology Really Be Making Us Smarter?

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As a feature writer for the New York Times Magazine, Wired and many other publications, Clive Thompson is one of technology’s smartest journalists. And now Thompson has brought his considerable intelligence to book writing. In Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For The Better, Thompson takes on Internet critics like Nick Carr and Jaron Lanier and argues that technology is actually making us smarter. He acknowledged the Internet can be a distraction and can degenerate into mob-like behavior on networks like Reddit. But when used right, Thompson insists, genuinely collaborative social networks like Ushahidi are actually boosting our cognitive skills and making us not only smarter, but also more productive and creative than ever before.

Thompson remains generally unimpressed, however, with giant silos of public thought like Twitter and Facebook. They are too large, he says, to effectively engineer social intelligence. And it’s here that he sees an interesting opportunity for entrepreneurs. The key, he says, is creating what he calls “clusters” of like-minded people in smaller groups. So, Clive Thompson suggests, entrepreneurs who think small might actually be smarter than you think.