I started this blog four years ago, with a rant about Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making us stupid?”:
Carr and his friends seem convinced that they “have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print”. Maybe they aren’t trying hard enough. As far as I can tell, deep concentration and contemplation has never come easily to human beings. People have always sought ways to escape from the everyday, and find surroundings that are conducive to deep thinking and study. The practice of meditation has been around for 5000 years (I learned that from Wikipedia). Libraries are consistently the most popular study locations (even for today’s “net generation” students), precisely because they provide the kind of quiet atmosphere necessary for contemplation. My point is that deep contemplation and careful reading has always required effort – it does not come naturally or easily, and it never has. Blaming Google or the internet strikes me as a lazy argument, a cheap shot, a red herring ….
It is nice to look back at something I wrote so long ago and find that I still agree. In fact, Alexis Madrigal’s recent article Inside Google’s Plan to Build a Catalog of Every Single Thing, Ever makes me think that Google just might have the capacity to make us smarter.
At any rate, happy 4th birthday to Feral Libarian; and thanks to all of you for reading and commenting.