Is Smart Technology Making Us Dumb?
May 20, 2015
Before the debate, 37 percent of the audience at the Kaufman Music Center in New York voted in favor of the motion, while 33 percent were opposed and 30 percent were undecided. After the event, 47 percent agreed with the motion and 43 percent disagreed, and 10 percent were undecided
Nicholas Carr writes about technology and culture. He is the author of the acclaimed new book The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (2014), which examines the personal and social consequences of our ever growing dependency on computers. His previous work, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (2011), was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a New York Times bestseller
Andrew Keen is an Internet entrepreneur and the author of three books: The Internet Is Not the Answer (2015), Digital Vertigo: How Today’s Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing and Disorienting Us (2012), and Cult of the Amateur: How The Internet Is Killing Our Culture (2007)
Genevieve Bell is an Intel fellow and vice president of the Corporate Strategy Office at Intel Corp. She leads a team of social scientists, interaction designers, human factors engineers and computer scientists focused on people’s needs and desires to help shape new Intel products and technologies.
David Weinberger is a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, where he previously served as co-director of the Library Innovation Lab and led its Interoperability Initiative.
book called “The Filter Bubble,” the reality is that we’re talking to fewer and fewer people.
But if anything, we’re talking less now than we were before the invention of the internet.
the dream was that we’d use the Internet to challenge ourselves.
In fact, what most people do is they go out and find stuff that confirms their existing biases, and that makes those biases even stronger.
using their thumbs instead of their brains.
And almost –it’s like a pacifier for young children.
Deep intelligence isn’t about getting precise answers to well-defined questions.
It’s being able to know, what are the big questions you should ask?
How do you fit this information together to form conceptual knowledge, to get big-picture knowledge? And if you spend all your time Googling and grabbing information, you might think you’re smart.
In fact, there was a very interesting study that came out just a couple of months ago that–that showed that people tend to think they’re smarter because they’re Googling all the time, and they confuse what’s on Google with what’s in their own brains.
And the interviewer said, “So I assume that as the –as Google search engine has gotten smarter, people’s questions have also gotten smarter.” And Amit Singhal laughed and said, “No, it’s exactly the opposite. People get lazier and lazier.” And this shows how we become dependent on the technology to do our thinking for us. And as a result, we get lazy, we fall victim to what scientists call automation complacency. You just simply think, let the machine do it for us. So even the formation of questions, we seem to be getting worse and worse as the searching gets better and better.
in the Phaedrus Socrates makes a terrible mistake, doesn’t make a lot –a terrible mistake. He’s wondering about the smart tech of his time, which was writing things down. It was literacy. And he said, “This is terrible because our memory will fail. We’ll get much worse at remembering things.” And he was absolutely right about that, because if anybody here would like to stand up and recite “The Illiad” by heart, please do so and show me wrong. But generally, our memory has gotten much smaller than it–than it was. So he was right about that, but he was wrong about the effect of literacy. The
There was a fascinating study done in the Netherlands, a series of experiments, where people were given increasingly smart software to do difficult tasks. And what the researchers found is that as the software got smarter, the people got dumber. They got lazier. They began to become reliant on the software itself. They weren’t practicing their own talents. And we can see this as well in all of those examples I talked about. David mentioned, well, aren’t pilots –shouldn’t pilots have the smartest technology possible? Actually, if you look at airline safety research, and if you look at the recent proclamations from the FAA, they’re saying that over automation is actually making pilots less capable.
Amit Singhal: The more accurate the machine gets …