Friday, January 29, 2016

I Google, therefore I am losing the ability to think

 
Is Google Making Us Stupid?' was the provocative title of a recent article in the US journal The Atlantic. Its author was Nicholas Carr, a prominent blogger and one of the internet's more distinguished contrarians. 'Over the past few years,' he writes, 'I've had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn't going - so far as I can tell - but it's changing. I'm not thinking the way I used to think.'

He feels this most strongly, he says, when he's reading. 'Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I'd spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That's rarely the case any more. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I'm always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.'

His diagnosis is that he's been spending too much time online. His complaint is not really against Google - it's against the network as a whole. 'What the net seems to be doing,' he writes, '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.'

To judge from the volume of commentary that has followed his article, Carr has touched a nerve. He was 'flooded with emails and blog posts from people saying that my struggles with deep reading and concentration mirror their own experiences'. Various über-bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan, Jon Udell and Bill Thompson took up the theme, adding their own twists. And prominent newspaper columnists such as Leonard Pitts (Miami Herald) and Margaret Wente (Toronto Globe & Mail) also revealed their private fears that addiction to cyberspace, and online media generally were, in fact, rotting their brains.

For the rest of the story: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2008/jun/22/googlethemedia.internet

1 comment:

  1. Watching the daily incessant propaganda from that boob box you call TV is what keeps everyone from thinking. Google goodgopher.com for alternative media sources where you can glean some truth.

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