14 June 2008

Is Google making us stupid?

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Internet Patrol
Nicholas Carr, the author of “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google” and “Does IT Matter?” wrote an article for The Atlantic Monthly on what the internet is doing to our brains: it is chipping away our capacity for concentration and contemplation, and replacing it with something he calls “Taylorism of the mind”.

“In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation. Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.

The idea that our minds should operate as high-speed data-processing machines is not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network’s reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.”

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