The Shallows

Intellectual Technology Term Analysis

All technologies, Carr argues, were invented to amplify certain human abilities. In The Shallows, Carr coins the term intellectual technology to refer to the subset of technologies that enhance mental skills. Examples of intellectual technologies include writing, the map, the clock, the book, and the Internet.

Intellectual Technology Quotes in The Shallows

The The Shallows quotes below are all either spoken by Intellectual Technology or refer to Intellectual Technology. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The History of Technology Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Norton and Company edition of The Shallows published in 2011.
Chapter 3 Quotes

Although the use of any kind of tool can influence our thoughts and perspectives––the plow changed the outlook of the farmer, the microscope opened new worlds of mental exploration for the scientist––it is our intellectual technologies that have the greatest and most lasting power over what and how we think.

Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sometimes our tools do what we tell them to do. Other times, we adapt ourselves to our tools’ requirements.

Page Number: 47
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The written word liberated knowledge from the bounds of individual memory and freed language from the rhythmical and formulaic structures required to support memorization and recitation. It opened to the mind broad new frontiers of thought and expression.

Page Number: 57
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Chapter 10 Quotes

When we extend some part of ourselves artificially, we also distance ourselves from the amplified part and its natural functions.

Related Characters: Marshall McLuhan
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:
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Intellectual Technology Term Timeline in The Shallows

The timeline below shows where the term Intellectual Technology appears in The Shallows. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
The History of Technology Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
Carr places the map and the clock into a category of technology he terms intellectual technology. All technology, Carr argues, was created to expand and extend aspects of humanity. Intellectual technologies,... (full context)
Chapter 4
The History of Technology Theme Icon
Efficiency, Speed, and Relevance  Theme Icon
Value, Depth, and Intelligence  Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
Carr turns his attention here to the history of writing, or the original intellectual technology. The Sumerians were the first to use a writing medium, etching cuneiform into clay tablets.... (full context)
Chapter 6
The History of Technology Theme Icon
...the ground, digital readers are making improvements in an attempt to compete with the old-fashioned intellectual technology of books. New high-resolution screens have reduced eye strain and features like the ability to... (full context)
Chapter 10
The History of Technology Theme Icon
Value, Depth, and Intelligence  Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
The public’s reaction to ELIZA brought Weizenbaum to contemplate the fascinating question of why the intellectual technology of computers has made the idea of man as a machine so much more plausible.... (full context)
The History of Technology Theme Icon
Value, Depth, and Intelligence  Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
...internal navigational skills. Carr is not being dramatic but rather advising that, for each new intellectual technology , users make an honest investigation of what skills are being sensitized and what skills... (full context)