Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The Atlantic Monthly has an article by Nicholas Carr entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid". Essentially, Carr wonders what impact the new ways of knowing are having on our intellectual abilities. From the article:

Never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives—or exerted such broad influence over our thoughts—as the Internet does today. Yet, for all that’s been written about the Net, there’s been little consideration of how, exactly, it’s reprogramming us. The Net’s intellectual ethic remains obscure.
I think Carr's argument is more of the same that we've heard, but it is thought-provoking and worth reading. He's the only critic of the net that I'm aware of who acknowledges that similar arguments have been made against the advent of writing and printing, so that alone makes him worth paying attention to. And I do think that there is some truth to the fact that we are thinking differently than we used to.

I differ with Carr, however, in his qualitative assessment of the situation. He seems to think that the web is making our thinking more superficial and machine-like. I tend to think that the internet is actually liberating us from mechanical thinking and allowing us to be far more creative in how we apply and interpret and integrate all of that mechanical thinking.

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