Is It the End of Our World? How to Think About Implications and Challenges

  • James W. Cortada


We live in a world so seemingly filled with “fake news” and hype, and not just in politics but also very much, too, with technology, that it can be difficult to make sense of our growing and intimate dependency on information technologies. In the summer of 2019, responsible news outlets buzzed with reports that children were growing “horns” (bone spurs) on the backs of their necks from walking around looking at smartphones and tablets. Critics quickly pointed out that the data reported in the initial scientific paper was faulty, but the press ran with the story anyway, including the distinguished Washington Post. It reported in May that,” kids are growing horns on their heads …. It’s technology’s fault.” Crazy? Plausible? It seemed so if you already knew that the human species is capable of very rapid evolution. Feed a generation of children properly and they grow several inches taller than their parents, military medical records have proven that point. Play a ball game requiring use of your right arm and it becomes larger and stronger than the other one. Every outstanding soccer player has thick, strong thighs. We all have personal experience observing the evolution of our bodies in support of repetitive actions. So, notions of humans evolving so that their thumbs can text faster or their heads bend over so to read screens and walk at the same time seem plausible.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Cortada
    • 1
  1. 1.Charles Babbage InstituteUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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