This post originally appeared on the Sogeti Labs blog
“Could my loss of focus be a result of all the time I’ve spent online? In search of an answer to that question, I began to dig into the many psychological, behavioural, and neurological studies that examine how the tools we use to think with — our information technologies — shape our habits of mind.”
This part of his article: “How the Internet is making us stupid” in the Telegraph, Nicolas Carr asks himself this question: ‘Could my loss of focus be a result of all the time I’ve spent online?’ Let us take Carr’s questions to schools and universities. Students with concentration problems, teachers with classrooms full of mobile focused students. Some people say: “Why do we teach in a way we did over decades? We now have new ways of learning, let us embrace that!” Others are more sceptical: “Everything is going so fast, and if even the young people hardly can keep up with all the changes, how about the old ones?”
Clash of people as ‘things’
Is it really only a culture clash between young and old, or is there more going on?
In her article: “The internet of things is setting up the ultimate culture clash” Stacey Higginbotham points us to the direction of having debates about how the internet is not only making us stupid but also puts us in the position of products.
“As the internet of things becomes more mainstream in the consumer home, this culture clash may play out where most people aren’t aware of it, but I think it’s a debate we should be having. Many people regret that the internet has become a place where you are the product, but it’s a scenario that is set to happen again as we put more and more of our old-line goods online. We should talk about that.”
Shaping our habits of mind
We are not only giving our privacy away to the big industrial leaders and start-ups. No, we are selling out the part of being human to the highest bidder. You are not a consumer, no, you are a product. You are selling the only part that separates us from technology. If we replace our emotion, our creativity with algorithms, what is the value of life? And, is that not the real question?
Blind to the damage to lifes and culture
Carr ends his article with the following part:
“There’s nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits and pieces. We’ve always skimmed newspapers more than we’ve read them, and we routinely run our eyes over books and magazines to get the gist of a piece of writing and decide whether it warrants more thorough reading. The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read deeply and think attentively. What’s disturbing is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify information for further study, it’s becoming an end in itself — our preferred method of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the net’s treasures, we have been blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture.”
Brains for sale
Next time when embracing internet related products, remember that you are not only the product on the internet, but that you are also part by selling your brain out. If the scenario of your grandparents being the last smart generation doesn’t freak you out, what does?
Is really the only border called ‘business model’?