Am I using my iPhone, or is my iPhone using me?
Nicholas Carr argues in The Shallows that the instantly gratifying, one swipe away, 24/7 access to media via new technology like iPhones is messing with our brains. As we upload, Instagram, and surf, we’re creating new neural networks accustomed to swift, and often scattered information intake.
But at what cost? Carr believes our shiny new techie tools are making it harder for us to concentrate. As someone who bounces back and forth from my Gmail account, to Facebook, and back to Gmail again in a matter of seconds, I can’t say I disagree.
However, judging by Carr’s reverence in tone for the long lost days of deep book reading, I get the impression that the newness of the technology might be biasing him to its effects.
Much like the ancients who deplored the change from oral transmission of information into the written word, I think Carr might be too quick to label our Apple products as harmful. There are limitless possibilities for the advancement of human debate, for example, when the facts no longer need to be memorized. They can be Googled instead, thus freeing the creative thinker to build on applied logic, inserting facts and statistics where relevant.
Just imagine how ridiculous it sounds to us living in 2014 that at one point, people scoffed at the very idea of writing. I applaud Carr’s tale of caution, but nothing could get me to trade in my iPhone for a Post-It note or Sumerian clay tablet.