Monday, June 09, 2008

Upon the Shoulders of Giants

Nick Carr asks in the most recent Atlantic, "Is Google making us stupid?" (not yet available on the web). Carr writes:
The Internet promises to have particularly far-reaching effects on cognition...The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is subsuming most of our other intellectual technologies. It's becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.
It is a brave new world as the singularity nears. Matt Asay over at CNET thinks this is not a good thing. My take? Bring it on. Using the same tenants of Anderson's "Free" argument, offloading aspects of our brain processes to technology allows us to focus on other activities, still uniquely accomplished by the human brain. Just as when something becomes free, such a newfound freedom opens up a whole host of yet unforeseen opportunities. We won't know what it means until it happens, as our ability to predict and comprehend beyond is limited.

Thus, upon the shoulders of giants we again will stand...

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