An article I would have written with a different title and "so what"

Today I finally had time to comment on this article, which three different people mentioned to me.

The article is about how the way we think is being changed by new technology, the Internet and the Web. To make the point, there are a lot of good examples of how past technology shifts have changed the way we think and interact. It is the kind of article I would have written, except for the title and the conclusions.

In fact I suspect that fewer people would have read the article without that specific title (Is Google making us stupid), and the "so what" which is basically that this kind of new technology will make us more stupid and will lower our capacity to think deeply.

The Internet and the Web is not only about Google. Google is just one of the tools that we currently use to look for information, but the Internet in general is changing us much more in the way we socialize, learn from each other, work, buy, etc. The change is so deep and ongoing that it is hard to even define it. In fact, only someone who has lived most of his life in the last century can even try to make some comparisons, whereas, for example, today's teens have never read a newspaper or cannot imagine their life without a social network.

Also, I do not agree with the "so what". What is wrong with the ability to think horizontally, with being able to make connections of seemingly disparate concepts or fields of knowledge?

As an example of how thinking horizontally can make us more intelligent, the Internet will allow us to overcome the tendency of the last century of dividing knowledge in different fields, tagging them with a name, and even developing a special vocabulary for each of them (which makes it difficult for researchers of different fields to interact with each other).

I see this all the time, now that Biologists have to talk to Computer Scientists, Mathematicians, Physicists, and even Philosophers. They all have a hard time communicating since their fields have been isolated for too long; maybe just because of not being able to think horizontally.

So, the article is very good, it explains how technology changes us, but in the end it looks at these changes in mildly negative terms, whereas I am more optimistic and see the opportunities that the change will bring about ;-)

marco palombi

marco palombi

I am intrigued by stuff that does not have a codified description, yet. As a corollary, my field is not definable, otherwise I would not be interested.

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