It hasn’t reversed. We aren’t becoming more stupid. Technology isn’t the villain here. Innovation and creativity won’t die a brutal death. We are just evolving as human beings always have. For years, the human brain and the way it functions has remained almost the same. The human brain today is very different from the time man was a hunter-gatherer, but for many years since civilisation it has stagnated. This is the first hardcore reboot of the human mind in a very long time.
The change that seems to have got the critics in a knot, is actually us preparing for a brand new world. A world where the brain doesn’t need to process useless information. What is the use of your brain storing 40 mobile numbers? Whom does it help? Isn’t your mobile phone directory with 1,000 numbers, email addresses, birthday dates and notes about each person a far better and more efficient system to record numbers and dates?
It’s freed up your mind to understand and remember better ways of retrieving that massive set of information. Your brain now knows better ways to search and use all that data you’ve kept. It’s the same with our new technique of ‘skimming’ information. Today we can scan a web page and make sense of 90 per cent of the content within the first five seconds. Only if it’s what we were looking for do we remain on the page – otherwise off we go to the next one till we find the exact and precise piece we were looking for. How is that bad? The ability to skim and reach a conclusion so quickly is proof the human brain evolving to the next level. See the bright side
Then there’s the fact that information overload has a high threshold. Many have been able to make it to the other side as more evolved beings – with the ability to filter redundant information from the true hidden gems. In this way they get the best of both worlds – lots of information and high quality knowledge. Of course, the classic debate of the printed page versus the Internet page will continue. Who is to say that reading a page printed on paper slowly and with full concentration versus reading many pages on the Net by jumping to many pieces of content on the same subject is more superior?
Book this now: Who is to say that reading a page printed on paper is more superior?
Maybe the hyper jumping is triggering an all-new level of intelligence that will show its true colours in some years. A new intelligence that may give birth to innovation and inventions at an unprecedented scale.
Technology has always been painted a villain too soon. There’s that famous saying that technology always comes bearing great gifts with one hand and stabs you in the back with the other. This time it doesn’t apply. Technology and the information highway is the greatest gift to mankind. True solid proof of that will show up soon. But if it doesn’t happen, don’t blame me! After all this column is being written by somebody who uses technology and the Internet 16 hours a day. You can’t blame somebody who is progressively becoming more stupid every single day. Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, CellGuru and Newsnet 3.Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com /RajivMakhni
From HT Brunch, August 26
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch