08 December 2010

Digital media (potentially) making us smart

"The basic plan of the brain's "wiring" is determined by genetic programs and biochemical interactions that do most of their work long before a child discovers Facebook and Twitter. There is simply no experimental evidence to show that living with new technologies fundamentally changes brain organization in a way that affects one's ability to focus. Of course, the brain changes any time we form a memory or learn a new skill, but new skills build on our existing capacities without fundamentally changing them. We will no more lose our ability to pay attention than we will lose our ability to listen, see or speak."

From LA Times article by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. They argue that 'the human-computer-Internet collective' is far smarter than the individual alone, although there is danger in that easy access to knowledge can fool us in believing we already have that knowledge and understand more than we do.

[via Alex Pang (who will be working with Microsoft on interfaces for sustained concentration)]

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