the internet makes you smarter. stupider. whatever.

If you missed the great debate of 2010, two noted thinkers are arguing exactly the opposite points. Clay Shirky, keynote speaker at SXSW this spring, suggests the Internet has unlocked a fantastic "cognitive surplus," illustrated above -- meaning all those hours you once spent gazing at clouds or watching the tube can now be used to do wonderful things, such as build Wikipedia or blog about wet T-shirt protesters. Nicholas Carr has expanded an essay from The Atlantic to argue the counterpoint in his book "The Shallows," suggesting our reliance on GPS and Google has extended human mind power at the risk of deleting parts of our minds.

Of course, you know the answer. You've already clicked through to those wet T-shirt protesters, haven't you?

Illustration: Information is Beautiful

1 comment:

Mark Wanczak said...

They're both correct. The internet, like any other tool, is what you make of it. You're RSS reader or bookmark folder can be filled with TMZ-like sites or it can be filled will free lectures from Ivy League schools.

You can use Twitter to follow celebrities or you can use it to learn more about an industry.

It's no different than those who read US Weekly versus Popular Science. Just a different form of media.

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