Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks explores the parallels between the development of a child’s brain and the development of the global “brain” of the Internet. While a lot of people are asking what all this technology is doing to our brains, the new questions this book asks are: What can new research into the ways a brain develops in the first five years teach us about the way we are developing the global “brain” of the Internet, as it’s also in the metaphoric early years of development? And what can we do, every day, to be mindful of the way we are developing both?
The book was created in conjunction with a 10-minute film by Shlain, also titled BRAIN POWER, which uses an innovative, participatory filmmaking process that Shlain and her team pioneered call “Cloud Filmmaking.” The TED Book expands on the ideas in the film by following the lines of the script and sharing deeper research, videos, graphics, and links that explore this cutting-edge neuroscience research, propose ideas of mindful use of technology, and compare the two to help us make each stronger.
This release marks the first time a film and TED Book are released together.
“This TED book really is a tour de force! As thought-provoking as anything I’ve read.
The child’s mind and the Internet as connectomes that we help to grow is very seductive.
It’s fantastic, and fun to read.” - Neuroscientist Patricia Kuhl
Excerpt from the Introduction:
I’ve always believed the technology we create is a direct extension of us, not something separate. As Marshall McLuhan wrote in The Medium Is the Message, first published in 1967, “The wheel is an extension of the foot, the book is an extension of the eye, clothing, an extension of the skin, electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system.”
We’re constantly striving to extend our reach. When we couldn’t see far enough, we made the telescope. When we needed to speak with people who weren’t within shouting distance, we created the telephone. When we wanted to travel to far-off places in a short period of time, we invented the airplane. When we needed to connect data, we developed the Internet. Read more…
See it in action…
Read more about the launch of the TED Book series here: TED Chief Talks about its Expansion
”Both a young child’s brain and our young, global Internet brain are in highly creative, experimental, innovative states of rapid development — just waiting to make connections. So, here’s a question for the 21st century: How do we help shape both of these young, rapidly growing networks to set a course for a better future?”
”The book and an accompanying short film also released, persuasively argues the need for preschool education, children’s museums and related experiences that nurture the cognitive development of the very young.”
”This book was a joy to read… She pushes us to think about how we shape both of these young, rapidly growing networks to chart a better future. I can’t think of a more pressing question and a more relevant set of questions to think through. And the way she does it – is completely delightful and engaging.”
”There are few people in the world who can connect ideas from seemingly disparate worlds of science, technology, and the arts and convert them into powerful, yet easy to comprehend stories… A simple but powerful idea which policymakers, designers, and all of use can use as we navigate our digital lives. A beautifully narrated and easy to comprehend book and accompanying video.”
“”Brain Power” is the first TED book that I’ve read, and it was a marvelous experience…Viewing the video and reading the book took only about an hour, but there’s enough food for thought to keep someone thinking for days afterward. My compliments to author Tiffany Shlain for giving us such a readable account of how the brain develops and a fascinating analogy comparing the brain’s development to that of the Internet.”
About TED Books:
TED Books is an imprint of short nonfiction works designed for digital distribution. Shorter than traditional books, TED Books run fewer than 20,000 words each – long enough to explain a powerful idea, but short enough to be read in a single sitting.