Is technology making us stupid—or smarter than we’ve ever been? Author Nicholas Carr memorably made the case for the former in his 2010 book The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains. This fall we’ll have a rejoinder of sorts from writer Clive Thompson, with his book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For The Better.
My own take: technology can make us smarter or stupider, and we need to develop a set of principles to guide our everyday behavior, making sure that tech is improving and not impeding our mental processes. Today I want to propose one such principle, in response to the important question: What kind of information do we need to have stored in our heads, and what kind can we leave “in the cloud,” to be accessed as necessary?Not really.
The answer will determine what we teach our students, what we expect our employees to know, and how we manage our own mental resources. But before I get to that answer, I want to tell you about the octopus who lives in a tree.Continue >