An evening with Steven Johnson
In his new book Everything Bad is Good for You, US author Steven Johnson argues that popular culture has never been smarter.
Drawing from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and literary theory, Johnson argues that the junk culture we're so eager to dismiss is actually making us more intelligent. Videogames, from Tetris to The Sims to Grand Theft Auto, have been shown to raise IQ scores and develop cognitive abilities that can't be learned from books. Likewise, when examined closely and taken seriously, successful television - the hit shows of every genre: The Simpsons, 24, The Apprentice -reveals surprising narrative sophistication and intellectual demands.
Johnson calls this upward trend the Sleeper Curve, after the classic sequence from Woody Allen's mock sci-fi film, where a team of scientists from 2173 are astounded that 20th-century society failed to grasp the nutritional merits of cream pies and hot fudge. And in Everything Bad is Good for You, he argues that the Sleeper Curve is the single most important new force altering the mental development of young people today, and that it is largely a force for good: enhancing our cognitive faculties, not dumbing them down.
In this talk at Demos, Steven Johnson will draw on both his new book and his earlier best-seller Emergence to explain what his thinking means for public policy.
6-8pm, Tuesday 24th May 2005
Demos, Magdalen House, 136 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU
RSVP essential - [email protected]