If you’ve got work to do at the computer, especially somewhat creative work, to what extent does the unavoidable urge to surf the Net distract from the quality of your enterprise? Apparently a lot. Or that, at least, is the idea behind a couple of software tools that make the Internet and social media inaccessible while you are at the keyboard. One program, called Freedom, “was developed by Fred Stutzman, visiting assistant professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, and counts Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Naomi Klein among its users.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Artistic production is more frequently than not born from observation and introspection, two tasks which the Internet keeps us from in the most delightful ways. The Web is an extremely powerful tool, to be sure, but it does not come free. It is actually changing how our brains work. “How can people not think this is changing your brain?” asks the neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University. “How can you seriously think that people who work like this are the same as people 20 or 30 years ago?”