The Atlantic Monthly’s Nicholas Carr is worried that his increasing reliance on the internet for research and other information has made him stupid:
…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.
The author dives deep into many perceived effects of the internet on the way he thinks, bolstering his argument with anecdotes about other technologies, like the printing press, and their very real influence our thought processes.
Ultimately Carr concedes that, while the internet’s influence will very likely have a profoundly positive effect on some aspects of our lives, it may have a dumbing-down effect in what we currently see as independent thought and intelligence. It’s a little doomsday, but also a great read, so let’s hear whether or not you feel Google’s making you dumber in the comments.