Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it. – Rollo May
At the end of a miserable day, instead of grieving my virtual nothing, I can always look at my loaded wastepaper basketand tell myself that if I failed, at least I took a few trees down with me.” – David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
I may have complained once or twice about my fears that smartphones were making me stupid. That the ambiguity and the patience that came with having to think about something, savor the unknown, consider the possibilities, all disappeared with a google search. Well, the results are coming in and I’m not sure what to make of them.
I love google. It is a marvelous tool. But I think that the google revolution may in fact be screwing with evolution. Because new research done at Columbia University is revealing that search engines have changed the way we think. (Big surprise. Huge.)
Published online last week, “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips” is kind of amazing and terrifying all at once. While the conclusions have yet to be made as to whether this transactive memory, the google effect, is for better or worse, I’m a bit skeptical.
If this new way of thinking doesn’t require us to collect and file away information, merely to have the cognitive skill to know how to find it, what do we do when the servers go down? Because they go down all the time. All the time. (I’d say they’re only human, but they’re not.)
If our experiences are no longer firsthand, how does that shape our imaginations?
It’s fascinating to see the brain mapping done by neuroscientist Gary Small (see video below via Good), but is all that activity helping us to retain more? Because, personally, I like storing my facts and figures and useless random pop culture know-all right here in my head, and not on a cloud server.
I’m going to go read a book now. And not on the iPad. Because I need the balance of tech and text to be both online and off. Is it just me? xo a.