Posted by: ggordonliddy | November 23, 2015

Where is my mind?

With the internet essentially at my fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I’ve noticed I use my memory much differently than I did before. After reading Clive Thompson’s quote in chapter 9, I’ve realized that I too have given up most of my efforts to remember details and seemingly trivial information. I no longer remember anyone’s phone numbers, addresses or birthday’s, except for a handful of close family members and friends. I let my phone, email accounts or social media do that work for me. I definitely feel like I’m remembering less and less and the years go on, however, I don’t feel like I’m less intelligent than I once was. I now remember the best methods for finding data or researching topics, and the most reliable sources for information. In fact, since I have virtually limitless access to information I feel like I can jump in the stream of facts and understanding whenever and however I choose.

As humankind acquires more and more knowledge, it doesn’t seem like memory as we know it now will even be possible to maintain. I read an interesting study about this topic where the author termed this phenomenon as “digital amnesia.” The author also suggests that our technology actually encourages our brains to forget. Here’s the full article:  https://usblog.kaspersky.com/digital-amnesia-survival/5548/

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Responses

  1. I’m glad you brought up that you do not feel any less intelligent in the age of digital amnesia. While we may no longer be as able to store information in our long-term memory as we once were, we are certainly more ready and able to access information as it comes. There is both loss and gain. Which outweighs the other depends largely on how you value recollection versus ease of access.

    Which then begs the question: Is the way in which the internet rewires our brains inherently bad? It is possible that we are entering the next great transition in how we as humans process information. Until external memory storage is no longer available, it is arguably more reliable than personal memorization. On the other hand, one could consider one’s own memories (although subjective) more reliable since they reside in the mind and not a computer.


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