The internet: is it changing the way we think?


The Observer has asked a number of people (let’s be inclusive and call them “public intellectuals”) to respond to Nicholas Carr’s article/book about the way the internet may be changing the way we think. The internet: is it changing the way we think? | Technology | The Observer. I certainly recognise the following passage as a symptom of my own:

“Over the past few years,” Carr wrote, “I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going – so far as I can tell – but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.”