Is Google making us stupid? Nicholas Carr in The Atlantic:
Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
You feel it, too, right? The cause? Google.
I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after.
Nate Anderson in Ars:
Andreas Kluth, of The Economist, agrees that “people will read more in terms of quantity, but more promiscuously and at shorter intervals and with less dedication. As these habits take root, they corrupt our willingness to commit to long texts, as found in books or essays… This will result in a resurgence of short-form texts and storytelling, in ‘haiku culture’ replacing ‘book culture.’”
The internet may be a watershed moment in human history, the event which triggered the death of literature and ushered in the haiku century.