You may have heard recently about Lady Greenfield’s presentation to the House of Lords, in which she argues that digital technology infantilizes us (“[T]he mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity”) and causes autism (about 12:45 into the interview). In response, somebody who actually knows something about social media, and who has helped compile a report based on evidence — I speak of course about the brilliant danah boyd — rather than on assumptions, post hoc ergo propter hoc inferences, and portentous warnings for which Lady Greenfield explicitly disavows evidence (at about 13 minutes into the Guardian interview), has offered a sigh of dismay in response. And danah’s sigh comprises a more reasonable, articulate description of the state of affairs than does Lady Greenfield’s more extensive exposition. Mark Liberman at Language Log discusses Lady Greenfield’s unfortunate nonsense-mongering, too.
On the other hand, Lady Greenfield is a baroness and a neuroscientist, so even when she invokes bugbears for which she offers no evidence, she gets media coverage; whereas when the MacArthur Report gives a reasoned, fact-based description of how things are — well, how proinently did your news sources cover the MacArthur Report?

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