De omnibus dubitandum
19 Aug 2008
A while ago I read an article from Nicholas Carr titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid“, and I thought he brought up a good point.
And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.
I too have been experiencing greater difficulty with concentrating for long stretches of time, and I’m more easily distracted. I now prefer my information in small bite-sized chunks, going for quick summaries instead of the full depth of the content.
Carr is a self-admitted worrywart, who joins a long line of historical worrywarts worrying that new technologies are making us stupid. In fact Carr does such a fine job of rounding up great examples of ancient worrywarts getting it all wrong, it’s hard to take his own worry seriously.
Kelly however fails to provide a solid counterargument against Carr’s case, save for pointing at previous technology’s critics and how wrong they all were. Not a very convincing argument.
As someone who’s made a career our of the things the Internet does, I should be exclaiming the online world’s manifold virtues and limitless possibilities. And often I do.
But I’m also worried about what the Internet is doing to us, both as individuals and as a society. It’s not all good, and I think we need to be honest about that. Regardless of how much we’d like to see the Internet as the solution to our global problems, we must face the fact that the online realm creates new problems of its own.