Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Atlantic Monthly: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Nicholas Carr has an interesting piece in the July/August Atlantic Monthly, pondering the effect of the internet and the quick availability of easily digested pieces of information via Google on one's ability to read and enjoy longer essays, books, etc.
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.

(via Lifehacker)

2 Comments:

Blogger j- said...

Google is the only place to find information on the internet? All information on the internet is dumbed-down and too brief?

The only thing Google and/or the internet might threaten i/r/t Nicholas Carr is Atlantic Monthly's subscription numbers and/or the ability of ponderous authors to make a living.

6/11/2008 3:56 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

I was thinking more about the information we choose to consume, rather than the way we get to it -- getting used to finding facts, brief ideas, etc via something like Google and then living in that space, only dealing with those "sound bites", might lead to a generally shortened attention span..but like with so many things, if you balance those short easy bits of info with longer works of whatever kind, it seems like you would keep your ability to read and love longer-format. More about attention span than intelligence I think, saying nothing about relative merit of long vs short pieces..Of course, a brief staggering fact might make you think just as deeply as a long piece that you dive into and process..

6/11/2008 5:12 PM  

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