We have to admit that technology is amazing. There are endless possibilities to what can be learned and accomplished through the technologies that are invented every day. Yet, is there a danger in relying too much on these technologies? This what Nicholas Carr discusses in “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.” In his book Carr outlines how he thinks the internet is rewiring our brain functions. The invention of the internet now allows us access to tons of information that could only be dreamt of in years past. Not only do we have access to unlimited information, but we have at the click of a button. The information appears almost instantly on our the screen of our computer or iPhone. We are surrounded daily by technology, media, social networking and the like. Carr argues that the internet, while allowing us to know more information, is actually not making us smarter. He states, “We’re not smarter than our parents or our parent’s parents. We are just smarter in different ways”. We don’t have better brains, just different brains.
We are in the age of Google, where we don’t have to know everything. If we don’t something we can just “Google” it. This is changing the way we read. We no longer sit in a chair for hours getting lost in a good book. Instead, we click around on the internet finding what we need in a matter of seconds. Carr argues, “By freeing us from the struggle of decoding text, the form of writing came to take a on a page of parchment or paper enabled us to become deep reader, to turn our attention, and our brain power, to the interpretation of meaning”. Google takes that away. We no longer think deeply about a subject. Instead of knowing much about on subject, we now know a little about many subjects.
I highly recommend this book. It makes you think about how we are being rewired to think differently. It has huge implications for the future.
You can find The Shallows at your local bookstore or amazon.com
This review was first published in December 2010 on my previous blog. No money was received in reviewing the book.