Is the Internet making us stupid? Discussion tonight at Loyola
Shana Rose Reporting
Tonight at Loyola a Pulitzer Prize finalist will delve into what the Internet is doing to our brains.
Author Nicholas Carr has written a book on the subject and says the Internet encourages fast-paced, scattered, multi-tasking type thinking, and that our hyper-connectedness is actually rerouting our neural pathways, which is also what happened after every other major technological breakthrough in the past, from the alphabet, to maps and the clock, to the printing press.
"And it ends up discouraging a different, and I think very important way of thinking," he says, "Which is the thinking we do when we pay close attention to something, whether it's a book or a train of thought."
Carr's most recent book, "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," is a 2011 Pulitzer Prize nominee and a New York Times bestseller.
With the increasing time we spend online he says, we lose the capability of introspection, contemplation, reflection and other forms of deep thought.
But aren't we much more productive than in the past? "Multi-tasking can actually make you less productive," Carr says. "Because you think you're getting a lot done because you're switching your focus all the time. But a lot of your mental energy is actually burned up in that act of switching your focus."
He says we're sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply.
University officials say Carr is also the author of two other influential books, "The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google" (2008) and "Does IT Matter?" (2004). His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.
Tonight's talk is free and open to the public at 7 p.m. in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall located in the Communications/Music Complex on Loyola's main campus. Free parking is available in the West Road Garage accessible from St. Charles Avenue.