I’ve just finished Shallows by Nicholas Carr and it’s one of the best books written about technology this decade. Most books about the Internet just show case all the amazing things you can do with it. Not this book. This book is a 300 page warning about how the Internet literally changes the structure of our brains.
Nicholas Carr starts by describing how the very first technologies (such as language and the alphabet) influenced our surroundings but also the way we humans are wired. Studies have shown that we not only act differently but also think differently when new technologies are introduced in our world.
The internet molds our brain in a very aggressive manner. Because the nature of the internet is very fragmented and about processing big chunks of information in a short time our brains become distracted very easily. Instead of reading a long text with our full attention we scan web pages and try to filter the important points. This seems efficient, but research shows it is hard to remember these important points because of the hasty way we try to consume them. A hyperlink is a great way to click onto the following subject, but every hyperlink is a stumble block for your brain. With every hyperlink your subconscious is over thinking whether it would be a good thing to click this link.
So what can we do about this? How can we stop our brains from becoming raving lunatics? Nicholas Carr doesn’t offer a concrete solution. This book is a wake up call. To make us aware of what is happening so that we could take timely measures. Which would be spending more time with a book and read for a long time uninterrupted. But are we able to do this? Is it possible to disconnect? I’m not sure I am. How about you? Let me know in the comments!