Friday, August 01, 2008

Stupid - or what?

What the Internet is doing to our brains according to The Atlantic

Here's his great blog

Over the past few years 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. I can feel it most strongly when I’m 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 anymore. 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.

So is Google making us stupid?

John Naughton good as ever

The combination of powerful search facilities with the web's facilitation of associative linking is what is eroding Carr's powers of concentration. It implicitly assigns an ever-decreasing priority to the ability to remember things in favour of the ability to search efficiently. And Carr is not the first to bemoan this development. In 1994, for example, Sven Birkerts published The Gutenberg Elegies with the subtitle The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, a passionate defence of reading and print culture and an attack on electronic media, including the internet. 'What is the place of reading, and of the reading sensibility, in our culture as it has become?' he asked. His answer, in a word, was 'shrinking' due to the penetration of electronic media into every level and moment of our lives.