Howard Rheingold's Mind Amplifier ebook

Howard Rheingold sez, "I have been interested in mind amplifiers since I wrote my 1968 Reed College thesis on brain biofeedback and the future of consciousness. This short e-book contains all kinds of goodies I've always wanted to put in my books -- embedded videos, rollover definitions. And I've been wanting to connect the dots between McLuhan, Engelbart, Illich, and Ostrom. I'm using this 60 page ebook as a text for a course on Think-Know Tools. Here is the blurb on the TED books site:"

Instead of asking whether the Web is making us stupid, Howard Rheingold turns that question around and asks how designing and using digital media mindfully could make us smarter. What if humans could build tools that leverage our ability to think, communicate, and cooperate? Humans invented social learning, speech, writing, alphabets, printing, computers, and the Internet, which means we should be systematically directing the evolution of intellectual augmentation. Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter? examines the origins of digital mind-extending tools, and then lays out the foundations for their future. Rheingold proposes an applied, interdisciplinary science of mind amplification. He also unveils a new protocol for developing techno-cognitive-social technologies that embrace empathy, mindfulness, and compassion -- elements lacking from existing digital mind-tools.

New TED Book: Mind Amplifier


  1. It’s a very interesting topic.

    I read it briefly, but it seems to be nothing but collection of historical tidbits with what can be identified as “mind amplification” tools from what exists to this day.  It’s rather descriptive with very little synthesis. It probably could have been better if the concept of mind amplification could be abstracted further – the whole thrust of the mini essay seems to be that modern information tools should be consciously created to make us more intelligent, but the examples given doesn’t seem to be rigorously thought out to show us exactly how we design such tools, and how to measure its performance.  

    I loved “The Information” that Cory has recommended in the past, but this one, not so much.

    Have I missed something here?

  2.  I’m just impressed by the name “Rheingold” and think there should also be a Howard Walkure, Howard Siegfried and Howard Gotterdammerung to balance that out.

    But regarding his insight that maybe our digital tools could make us better… how is that a new idea?  That’s been the stated promise of every new communication technology since the telegraph.

    I hope he writes better than whoever wrote the TED blurb for him. 

  3. “…leverage our ability to think, communicate, and cooperate” – Now there’s a worthy goal. Not much of that in the world at the moment.

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