Tomorrow at noon Facebook will be hosting one of its “Facebook DC Live” events featuring William Powers, author of Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life. I interviewed Powers on the Surprisingly Free podcast last year about his book.
What I like so much about Powers and his books is that he gracefully tackles what is no doubt a fact: that like all new technologies the Internet comes not just with benefits, but with costs as well. In the Internet’s case the costs that most folks have identified have to do with “what it’s doing to our brains” and attention spans. Unlike other authors on the same topic that I’ve read and interviewed, like Nick Carr, Jaron Lanier, Susan Maushart, and Elias Aboujaoude, Powers doesn’t overplay his concern or sound alarm bells of doom. Instead, he gives a very upbeat account of how great minds throughout history have dealt with technological change.
The punchline: be mindful of your action, and take a break once in a while. Wonderful advice wrapped in great stories and good philosophy; cyber-doom need not apply. So, check him out on the live stream tomorrow and you’ll be able to chat and ask questions.