Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is "The Shallows" Deep?

I'm sorry that I missed The Technology Liberation Front's review of Nicholas Carr's The Shallows in June. An excerpt:

Although, ultimately, Carr doesn’t quite convinced me that “The Web is a technology of forgetfulness” (p. 193), he has made a powerful case that its effects may not be as salubrious as many of us have assumed. Drawing upon a wealth of scientific studies, Carr calls into question the widely-held belief that the Net’s vast reserves of instantly accessible information have enabled us to “free up” brain space and made room for more mental processing and productivity. “Those who celebrate the ‘outsourcing’ of memory to the Web have been misled by a metaphor,” he argues. (p. 191) “When a person fails to consolidate a fact, an idea, or an experience in long-term memory, he’s not ‘freeing-up’ space in his brain for other functions,” he says. (p. 192) Instead, we are just losing that wisdom and experience, or at least dulling our intellects in the process of farming out that learning process to the Web.

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