Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is Google making us stupid?

Nicholas Carr created a firestorm around the value of IT in 2003 when he wrote the article “IT Doesn’t Matter” for the Harvard Business Review. He has a new article in The Atlantic entitled “Is Google Making us Stupid?” Google and similar tools allow us access to a lot more information than any other generation has ever had. However, the style of the information and the mental behaviors that we use to access and absorb it are very different from the way previous generations absorbed books and detailed articles. Carr suggests that are becoming accustomed to all information being delivered as small bites that can be consumed in a few minutes. As a result we are losing the mental habit and facility to sit with a long treatise on a subject and work through it over many hours or many days. He reaches back to historical examples that have had similar effects on people’s behaviors. In summary he proposes that the tools that we use to create and deliver information shape the way our brains work and that the Web fails to create the mental muscles required to deeply investigate a subject.



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