I notice a lot of attention in the blogosphere to this article on how the Internet (Google in particular) is turning humanity into a mass of 'thoughtless' nerds with a poor attention span and limited ability to assimiliate useful knowledge. You can read
the article here -http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google
The author's (Nicholas Carr) thoughts set me thinking on a few fronts. Aren't we all turning into 'comfortable automatons' secure in our digital world that seems so easy - mobile, internet, GPRS, Google search...? Everything seems to be within reach and
just a click or a few tabs away. This kind of echoes what my father used to rant in my school going days - "using the calculator will turn your arithmetical abilities to dust". The question is whether we will be happier with our manual devices and reliance
on our brains and wits to go through our daily lives. The current argument by Carr remind me of an essay by Isaac Asimov in the early eighties where he argued against notion of societies living in 'backwater' scenarios and away from the urban jungles. Asimov
said that modern human simply cannot go back to the woods. Taking the same thought process, can humanity today move in any direction except forward in the digital 'evolution'.
Much is being made of the arrival of 'semantic' web that will enable users to intelligently interact with the web to a level of personalization never seen before. Carr's fears of human intelligence being replaced by AI would be magnified to a much greater
degree in Web 2.0.
The moot point is - whether our over dependence on the Web to govern our lives is turning us to digital zombies? Are our lives flitting like a fly from one crumb to the other?
Certainly an interesting topic of debate that promises to enhance the much vaunted 'digital divide' of our world!