The Shallows Chapter 10 Supplementary Content


The ELIZA program, try out a conversation with it and see how it works!

From The Shallows:

 “[…] what shocked [Weizenbaum] was how quickly and deeply people using the software ‘become emotionally involved with the computer,’ talking to it as if it were an actual person.” (p.204-205)

This is known as the ELIZA Effect:

“[U]sers perceive computer systems as having “intrinsic qualities and abilities which the software controlling the (output) cannot possibly achieve”

From The Shallows:

[…] when people aren’t being bombarded by external stimuli, their brains can, in effect, relax. They no longer have to tax their working memories by processing a stream of bottom-up distractions.

This study, “Individual differences in employee reactions to open-plan offices” partially confirmed that performance is reduced for employees with complex tasks and distractions, in open offices. Do you think this will change how you consider your own workspace after graduating?


The above image demonstrates the game used in Van Nimwegen’s study “The paradox of the guided user: assistance can be counter-effective”. The top game image indicated whether an action was possible by greying out buttons, while the lower game image gave no indication to whether an action was possible or not.

The puzzle involved transferring colored balls between two boxes, and followed the rules of the river crossing problem: “Missionaries and cannibals problem”

What does the Oculus Rift do to your brain? An interesting video to see what kind of effect virtual reality has on your brain!

From The Shallows:

“There is no Sleepy Hollow on the Internet, no peaceful spot where contemplative ness can work it’s restorative magic.” (p.220)

Sleepy Hollow refers to the place in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” where the community is haunted by ghost and the Headless Horseman.

Full text:

Nicholas Carr’s Website:

You can share your thoughts about “The Shallows” and how it has changed your idea or usage on the internet. In the afterwards of the paperback edition the author has already received:

“[…] large number of notes that come from young people – high schoolers, college kids, twentysomethings.” (p.226)

So don’t refrain from writing to him!

Nicholas Carr’s Blog:

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