Nicholas Carr: How is the 'Net programming us?
[T]he Net isn’t the alphabet, and although it may replace the printing press, it produces something altogether different.
If we create new tools and our tools in turn recreate us, what will be the lasting impact of the Internet? In The Atlantic, Nicholas Carr wonder if Google is making us stupid.
Reading.... is not an instinctive skill for human beings. It’s not etched into our genes the way speech is. We have to teach our minds how to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand. And the media or other technologies we use in learning and practicing the craft of reading play an important part in shaping the neural circuits inside our brains. Experiments demonstrate that readers of ideograms, such as the Chinese, develop a mental circuitry for reading that is very different from the circuitry found in those of us whose written language employs an alphabet. The variations extend across many regions of the brain, including those that govern such essential cognitive functions as memory and the interpretation of visual and auditory stimuli. We can expect as well that the circuits woven by our use of the Net will be different from those woven by our reading of books and other printed works.
Thanks to brain plasticity, adaptation to the Internet is happening at a biological level. Carr's question: How is the 'Net programming us?