|Chapter :||Scenario 1: The Internet and Evolution of Human Intelligence|
on emotions and as a species we tend to accept information that confirms our preferences (confirmation bias). This tendency may be exaggerated by the use of the Internet, where users can trawl the Web until they find enough views to corroborate their own. In addition to this, the Internet creates the tendency to falsely believe that we understand a subject area well, that is, it creates a false sense of expertise. Thus, given the average user’s tendency towards confirmation bias and false sense of expertise, I think the Internet will gradually dumb down the capacity for analysis, and therefore, make us stupider.” —Nikhat Rasheed, project manager, researcher and evaluation consultant at XCG, Inc.
“The seductive click-and-surf temptations of the TV remote control now surface in a reading environment online, and people are developing counterproductive reading habits. They cannot maintain attention as consistently as in the past, a mental habit developed by reading which also strengthens reading comprehension and retention. That is why I believe what you call ‘stupidity’ will continue to grow. Logical thinking requires that sustained attention, too, for consistency in evidence-based conclusions.” —Margot Haynes, associate professor in reading and information literacy, Delta College (Michigan), US
A new set of essential literacies is required to function in this world, and those who leverage them will succeed. In fact, the Internet might change the very notion of what it means to be “smart.”
“The critical uncertainty here is whether people will learn and be taught the essential literacies necessary for thriving in the current infosphere: attention, participation, collaboration, crap detection, and network awareness are the ones I’m concentrating on. I have no reason to believe that people will be any less credulous, gullible, lazy, or prejudiced in 10 years, and I am not optimistic about the rate of change in our education systems, but it is clear to me that people are not going to be smarter without learning the ropes.” —Howard Rheingold, visiting lecturer, Stanford University, lecturer, University of California–Berkeley, author of many books about technology including Tools for Thought and Smart Mobs
“Google makes us simultaneously smarter and stupider. Got a question? With instant access to practically every piece of