Search Engines: How They're Reshaping Your Brain

Is faster thinking always better?
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2008 10:42 AM CDT
Exhibitors of the Google company work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated sign of the Google logo at the industrial fair Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany, in this April 17, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)
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(Newser) – Although he’s thrilled with all the time he saves using the Internet for research and awed by the vast intellectual opportunities available to every web surfer, Nicholas Carr is a bit disconcerted that he no longer has the patience for reading books or long articles. With his netizen mind fidgeting and losing the thread after a few pages, Carr wonders in the Atlantic: What is the net doing to our brains?

New communication media always reshape the thinking that uses them, Carr notes, but he’s worried the net’s instant-access approach will disassemble the mental apparatus for deep thinking engendered by books. As we rely more on more on the search engine’s brain to organize our thinking, is it our own intelligence that becomes artificial?