Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Is Stupid Making Us Google?

Is Stupid Making Us Google?: James Bowman writes "I have no doubt that I go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense. The question is, how guilty do I need to feel about this? In his view, presumably, quite a lot guilty, since by reading online as much as I do I am depriving myself of the ability to read offline. He takes this insight to an even more alarming conclusion in the end, writing that ???as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.??? And if that???s the case for veteran readers, think how much worse it must be for the jeunesse dor???e of the information age, if they never developed the habits that accompany ???deep reading??? in the first place."
The problem I have with his value judgement is in the assumption that places the hypnotic deep-reading trance as somehow 'better' than the fragmented all-at-once roaratorio that typifies modern information gathering. Socrates, we may recall, rightly warned us the adoption of writing would rob us of our memory, which it did, except that this price brought us considerable gain in the overall practice of Cultural Memory. Also maybe worth remembering "City as a Classroom" (McLuhan&McLuhan) and the experiments on back-lit screens vs front-lit (paper and cinema) presentation on theta brainwaves: Stupid? or merely stupified?

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