Just read Nick Carr’s latest piece in The Atlantic. It was deja vu all over again.
Carr is asking (or is he telling us) whether the Internet encourages us not to think. Sure, he says, we can get at more information now, but do we reflect on it? Is it making us moronic?
Mr. Carr raises the same red herrings that were discussed when TV started to become a fixture in everyone’s lives. Remember “cotton candy for the mind,” “a generation of visually sophistocated but not reading-learned folks,” “the boob box,” and other references? That was before live footage from the Alabama race riots, from Viet Nam, from the first lunar landing, etc. started to give everyone access to events as they happened and in many cases a much more compelling reality through which to evaluate the words that politicians, vendors, and others were handing out.
Is there a lot of crappola on the Internet? Sure. But, as Carlin would say, you can always change the channel.
Does Google make us think a certain way to find information? Maybe. But it is better than not looking for information at all.
About the worst thing you can do, which Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google have all done in their dealings with China, is to let someone censor what you can look for on the Net.
Look, I have an autistic boy among my six kids who has been earnestly surfing the web since about age 2. He seems to have, according to tests, an above average grasp of language (English and others) — learned from the web – and of mathematics — also gleaned from the web. He can draw stylized logos from memory for TV production, motion picture production, and sound studios freehand and in 3D. Among the first words he ever spoke: “Now available on video cassette and dvd. Rated E for Everyone.”
His mother blogs about autism and rants against the quacks and charlatans who are trying to substitute their product or agenda for real work toward understanding autism and helping neurotypicals like us deal with the fact that autistics see things differently.
Here’s the point: Google “autism” and you get both the valid studies and the quackery in a single list. Dig a little deeper, as most of us will who are so motivated, and you will be able to read solid medical reports and blogs by respectable folk (including autistic adults) that will help you learn to separate the real organizations and valid web pages from those sponsored by the “kelators,” Mona Vie juice-aholics, and the other nimrods.
I only wish Googling storage would give you the same clarity. But, whether it is on the Internet, in the trades, or in vendor brochures, the marketecture is so thick, you need a finer brain than mind to cut through it all.