Internet Risks?

A book being published this month, Surfing Our Way to Stupid”, by Nicholas Carr raises the common theme that the internet is making us stupid. One might wonder how this can be the case given that the global internet traffic for this year is projected to be more than 20,000 petabytes (1 petabyte = 1 million gibabytes). The complaint is that the effect of all this information is for us to juggle many bits of information instead of focusing on one thing. First of all, let us concede that being entirely preoccupied with one topic is not a good thing either. The complaint is that all this information forces us to dilute our attention onto so many topics that we do not achieve any depth of understanding on any one of them.

Apparently this book portrays us as being victims of the internet. If we are truly victims of the internet I would argue that the fault lies within ourselves and not with the internet. Now should you be someone who clicks on what is trending now, wants to know what is currently “cool,” and needs to know the current “buzz” on all these topics spewing forth, then I would strongly suggest that you get a copy of Surfing Our Way to Stupid and reevaluate yourself.

There will always be a conflict, with or without an internet, between breadth of knowledge (knowing a wide variety of topics) versus depth of knowledge (understanding a topic or topics in detail). We all have limited attentional capacities and need to spend our attention as we see fit. It is also wise to step back and assess whether we are expending our limited attentional resources wisely.

What is often missed in tirades against the internet is the ubiquity of links. Links provide the opportunity to explore a topic in more depth. Terms and topics that are unfamiliar can be clicked on to gain access to resources elaborating on this topics. Moreover, they can be used to increase our depth of knowledge in any topic of interest.

So the bottom line is that the problem is not the internet, but rather how we choose to use the internet.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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2 Responses to “Internet Risks?”

  1. Lashawn Says:

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    more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.

    Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

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