Chapter 8: The Church of Google


Fredrick Taylor – Excellerated the efficincy of workers and improved productivity. Workers would be trained to perform a specific set of tasks in the “best way” … similar to how Google was created to provide efficiency to users.

“In the past man has been first, in the future the system must be first” Do you agree?

Comparing Taylor with Google

  • Google carries out thousands of experiments/tests – Taylor did the same
  • Algorithm or set of instructions – Google believes that citizens are best guided by algorithms which is exactly what Taylor beleived
  • Maximum speed, efficiency and output – Goals of both Taylor and Google
  • Goal to adopt the best method
  • The most efficient way – Both aimed at creating the best way of doing things

Google relies on cognitive psychology research  to make people use their computers more efficiently. “Its the next best thing to actually being able to read their minds”

Larry Page – Founder of Google says:

  • Google rganize the worlds information and makes it universally accessible
  • Google wants to know where you are and what you need to better help you
  • Google has made the internet more efficient in finding you information – engineered to produce better results

See more: Where’s Google going next?

Google Glass: Do you agree with this concept, will it benefit us or destroy us?

Google’s Secret Project?

“To be up to date requires the continual monitoring of message alerts” How do you feel when you can’t monitor or view notifications? How do you feel when you don’t have any messages or notifications? *


Black Mirror: One episode that really got me thinking…

Do you think its possible for the world to be like this one day or does this already reflect our current society?

The Digitization of Books: Google’s effort to bring more efficiency

  • Do you think in the future people will stop reading books and magazines because everything will be online and easily accessible?

“The contemplative mind is overwhelmed by the noisy world’s mechanical busyness”

The problem today is that we are losing our ability to balance the industrial and pastoral – the idea of efficiency and contemplation as two seperate states of mind. “Information overload is worse than ever”. We are flooded every moment by information when we are on the internet or smartphones. What happens if we start using google glass? What will be next?

“The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people or smarter”

Do you think computers will be able to replicate human thought? 

Talk to a computer – Cleverbot responds to anything you type, it learns more from each person it talks to, it accesses thousands of conversations to come up with a response.

As computers get smarter what does this do to our brains? We are becoming consumed by technology, will it control us one day?


Ch.7 The Jugglers Brain

Reading this chapter I was reminded of a TED talk I was shown by a teacher in High School on Sixth Sense technology. This chapter points out how the way we interact with content has changed and become more demanding, fast-paced, interactive, and received in high volumes. This talk happened in 2009 keep that in mind when you watch it, and also how this technology would change our interactions.

Here’s a link to Pranav’s personal website (it’s slightly dated)

I was wondering what the opposite of overstimulation would do to people. In other words I wanted to see both sides of the spectrum.

Out brains are extremely sensitive and even the smallest change in our surrounding environments can significantly change the structure and wiring of them.

The chapter reviews studies on multitasking that have mostly proven people absorb information from straight text better than multi-sensory experiences covering the same content.

Should we have new measurements and methods of testing to accommodate this type of learning?

Provided bellow is a short term memory test

There is a small percentage of people in the world that are born to multitask



Ch 6. The Very Image of a Book


What is a book to you?

Do you prefer a physical book? Or reading on a Kindle?


Kindle is a small hand-held electronic device for reading books, similar to an iPod or MP3 player where you download and play music. The Kindle works the same way by downloading books (via wireless technology)  and store up to thousands becoming your own personal, portable library.

However, you compared to the original Kindle, the latest Kindles offer new options that the older versions did not have.

“As soon as you interject a book with links and connect it to the Web–as you as you “extend” and “enhance” it and make it “dynamic”- you change what it is and you change, as well, the experience of reading it.”


Cellphone Novels


Japanese cell phone novels (keitai shousetsu, ケータイ小説, literally keitai = cell phone, shousetsu = novel) is phenomenon that began almost fifteen years ago and landed in the Western world in 2008. It as mentioned before began in Japan, popular with everyday middle school, high school, university students and even those older write novels on their phones and post them onto sites chapter by chapter. Getting comments, reviews from chapters that consist of even 50-100 characters, sometimes more.

Cellphones back then were much more advanced compared to what we have now. Already possessing the ability to access the internet and post on chatrooms/websites.

These writers would write about numerous controversial subjects such as a personal, emotional, existential and controversial topics that are considered taboo to mention openly in Japanese culture, such as identity, subcultures, relationships, rape, bullying, abortion, friendships, and betrayals. These novels can receive more than ten million views and some have even been adapted into published works, tv dramas, films, anime (cartoons), manga (comicbooks).

The top five bestselling novels in Japan are often originally cellphone novels.

Examples are: “Koizora” (Love Sky), “Akai Ito” (Red String of Fate), “Kimi No Sei” (It’s Your Fault), “Moshimo Kimi Ga” (If You)





  • French poet Alphonse de Lamartine “This will be the reign of the human world in all its plenitude. Thought will not have time to ripen, to accumulate into the form of a book-the book will arrive too late. The only book possible from today is a newspaper?”
  • Why do you believe it failed?



  • In an 1889 essay in the Atlantic Monthly, Philip Hubert predicted that “many books and stories may not see the light of print at all; they will go into the hands of their readers, or hearers rather, as phonograms.”












Chapter 5, A Medium of the Most General Nature

Alan Turing


Alan Turing was born in London, England in 1912 and died in 1954. He was an English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and theoretical biologist. His work in the field with the creation of the Turing machine is what started the revolution the computer, with the Turing machine being consider the model for the general purpose computer. With his research he was considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

The movie The Imitation Game (2014) was a movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, going through the events of World War II, in a glorified fashion, which lead to the creation of the Turing machine.

The evolution of technology from the Turing machine to smartphones

“Once information is digitized, the boundaries between media dissolve. We replace our special-purpose tools with an all-purpose tool” (88).

Netflix statistics

RADIOLAB The Turing Problem

What if the internet stopped working for a day?


Chapter 4, The Deepening Page

The Sumerians

Sumerian Cuneiform.  This style of writing can be found up to 8000 BCE according to the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages.  It developed from pictographs (hieroglyphs).  These pictographs were pressed into small clay tokens.  Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.17.13 PM.png

Overtime these pictographs evolved and became full fledged writing system by 3300 BCE.  Here is an example of their early writing system.

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Notable features

  • Type of writing system: semanto-phonetic – the symbols consist of phonograms, representing spoken syllables, determinatives, which indicate the category a word belonged to and logograms, which represent words.
  • Direction of writing: variable – early texts were written vertically from top to bottom, but by about 3,000 BC the direction had changed to left to right in horizontal rows. At the same time the signs were rotated 90° anticlockwise and started to be made up mainly of wedges.
  • Number of symbols: between about 1,000 in older texts to 400 in later texts.
  • Many of the symbols had multiple pronunciations.
  • Used to write: Sumerian

By 2800 BCE the Sumerian writing system evolved to represent sounds.  Here is a small sampling of the phonetic “alphabet”.  See the source Omingot for a full list of symbols.

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Sample text on a clay tablet.

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Scripta Continua

Blurry, but would we be able to read it anyways?!!


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This style of writing transcribed directly from speech.  Paul Saenger (Curator and researcher of rare books) in the Space between Words said of the development of scripture continua – “Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet by adding symbols for vowels”.  The addition of vowels allowed for “the reader to identify syllables swiftly within rows of uninterrupted letters”

The Gutenberg Press

Johannes Gutenberg

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Printing with a Gutenberg Press!



Book of Eli – 2010.  Eli must make his way across post-apocalyptic America to deliver a sacred book, the last of its kind, to the last vestige of civilized man that is trying to gather anything it can from the post-apocalyptic era.  To preserve civilization and the progresses humans have made since the Dark ages.  When things weren’t much different from what they are in the post-aocalytpic time of the movie.  The book he is carrying is taken away from him, but he carries on and makes it to his destination.  Eli, who is blind, was carrying a Braille version of the St. James Bible.  He has carried it since his youth and has memorized every last word.  He recites it orally to a scribe before he ultimately dies.  The book is printed on a version of the Gutenberg press.  They are dragging humanity back from he brink of destruction with a Gutenberg press!

The nuances of this was lost on this me until this moment!  Gutenberg press ushered in the Modern Period of man.  There was an explosion of knowledge and thought.  The Gutenberg press, created approximately around 1445 made possible:

  • The Renaissance – 1500 to 1800.  Michelangelo’s David.  Da Vinci’s creations and ideas.  Educational reform.  Perspective in oil painting.  Humanism.
  • The Reformation – 1500.  A schism from the Roman Catholic church gave rise to Protestant based religions such as the Lutherans, Anglican (Church of England, Calvinism.  Salvation Army!
  • Age of Enlightenment – 1700.  Modern Philosophy, Renes Descartes, David Hume, John Locke.
  • The Scientific Revolution – 1543, with Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres).  Modern development in math, physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry.

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Johann Fust, banker and money lender.  Peter Schoffer, talented Scribe and spy.

First rate Scoundrels who took away Johannes Gutenberg’s inventions, continued printing the Gutenberg’s Bible and put their names on it.

Let’s take a moment to honour the creation and loss suffered by Johannes Gutenberg!!

One last abstract point about technology, whether it is books or the internet.  Gord Downey of the Tragically Hip says it best!





The Shallows: Prologue and Chapter One

And let’s start with this!

  And this! Fpattern 5MbThe new media are not bridges between man and nature – they are nature…The new media are not ways of relating us to the old world; they are the real world and they reshape what remains of the old world at will. – Marshall McLuhan



“We are approaching the “technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society”


This is Marshal Mcluhan; He is dead.





The debate summarized and explained by our friend, Nicolas Carr

The importance of the text.

Watch the video of Norman Mailer arguing with Marshal McLuhan
Transcript of the video

Marshall McLuhan: talking about the medium is the message.




The long cultural shadow of 2001: A Space Odyssey
On The Simpsons

Family Guy 

General cartoon appropriations of the film

The Space Odyssey explained

Roger Ebert’s (film critic) thoughts

Connections to other Sci-fi films 

TIFF recently hosted a retrospective of Kubrick’s films and art inspired by them

How much of Kubrick’s vision was scientifically accurate? (Engineering and Technology Magazine)

Internet Resource Archive on 2001

Articles/essays on Google Scholar




When computers say stuff with feelings (Scholarly article)

But, really, how is the internet affecting us?

How the Internet is changing the way we think

Are you really the dumbest generation? And how do you feel about that?

Author of  Interview


Screen vs paper–the differences in comprehension and recall

FpatternF pattern of internet reading

WHY READING is good for you

Reading on screen vs reading on paper, Excellent article on the history of reading, how to understand how reading on screen is different.
• Educational clip about the history of printing and reading
• Gutenberg then vs Gutenberg now: Project Gutenberg

Your Outboard Brain Knows All, Clive Thompson.

And…sigh…yet another indication that the internet/smart phones are rewiring our brains: Phantom Phone Vibrations.


The article that started it all: Is Google Making Us Stupid.–where it started

Counter opinions

Is Google Making Us Stupid? Nope!, Philip Davis

And, another anti-Carr response to the question about Google and our collective stupidity.

Nicholas Carr’s
book site | blog

How Google is Changing Your Information-Seeking Behavior, Lab Soft News Blog.

And, if you’re going to use Google, learn to really use it.


On The Media
Reply All
Internet History Podcast
Manners for the Digital Age

You are Not a Gadget and Who Owns The Future by Jaron Lanier
Alone Together

I Hate The Internet | In the Guardian | In the New York Times

The Circle (Dave Eggars)

AFK: The Pirate Bay

Aaron Schwartz: The Internet’s Own Boy

Google and The World Brain

Web Junkie

And, of course, BLACK MIRROR! on Netflix.



Silk Drawings and Google Drawings

Hey guys, here’s the website where you can weave your own intricate silk drawing with your mouse (or trackpad): Weave Silk

and a while back when we were talking about human brains vs computer “brains” I brought up Google Image’s “drawings”. Essentially, Google programmers wanted to see if they could teach their artificial neural networks (what processes our image searches) an object by showing it millions of pictures of that object, and then later asking it to come up with it’s own image for it. They also played around with image layer levels. The results are WEIRD.


check it out for yourself