|Chapter :||Scenario 1: The Internet and Evolution of Human Intelligence|
Survey respondents were offered the two opposing scenario choices in the graphic shown above, they were required to select one of the two, and they were asked to write an elaboration:
On this first segment of the 10-part survey, 81 percent of the expert respondents and 76 percent of the overall survey participants agreed with the statement, “By 2020, people’s use of the Internet has enhanced human intelligence; as people are allowed unprecedented access to more information they become smarter and make better choices. Nicholas Carr was wrong: Google does not make us stupid.”
Technology analyst Carr wrote a provocative cover story for the Atlantic Monthly magazine in the summer of 2008 that was topped with the headline “Is Google Making us Stupid?” (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/). He argued that the ease of online searching and distractions of browsing through the Web were limiting his capacity to concentrate.
“I’m not thinking the way I used to,” he declared, noting that he was becoming a skimming, browsing reader. “In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas…If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with ‘content,’ we will sacrifice something important.”
Carr’s article became a popular point of public debate and it came to represent an argument over the positive and negative impacts of human uses of Internet applications in regard to intelligence.