I would love to see Clay Thompson and Nicholas Carr in a sparring match.
- Thompson, thinks the Net is making us smarter. (His book’s titled “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better“).
- Carr believes it’s re-wiring our brains for the worse. (His book is called “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.”)
THOMPSON talks of Ambient awareness as if it were some rare gift that comes with augmenting (saturating?) our brains with feeds and Tweets. He calls it “the experience of knowing what’s going on in the lives of other people — what they’re thinking about, what they’re doing, what they’re looking at — by paying attention to the small stray status messages that people are putting online.”
CARR famously said that he’s “had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory.”
Who’s side would you be on?
I’ve got a vested interest in both sides. I teach students to use technology and computers in a way that does not necessarily outsource their thinking and memory and ideas to some machine. I also try consider extending the boundaries of knowledge, using available (aggregation, collaboration, inquiry) tools.
I’m a big fan of the Shallows. I also use the Kasparov Vs Deep Blue example now and then when discussing robotics and getting people to stop thinking in terms of a “man vs machine” debate. Thompson uses ane example —you could see it here in an excerpt— of how collaborating with the ‘machine’ rather than competing with it changed the game –for Kasparov at least.
He may have a good point.