Lots of things change our brains (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). We know that reading changes the brain–according to the language you read. Does using the internet change your brain as well? If so, then people in developed countries would have different brains than those living in third-world environments.
In the January 4th edition of the Financial Times, April Dembosky writes: "Many new technologies begin with such virtuous goals of making the world a better place and its citizens better people. But many come with hidden costs that take time to surface. Now that mainstream internet sites such as Google, Facebook and Amazon are all in close reach with a few touches of the smartphone in your pocket, the human side-effects of being constantly connected are starting to emerge.
"There is growing concern that our emotional and empathetic pathways are being eroded by all the screen time. We spend so much time on our computers and gadgets that we are starting to think like them."
Our memories are affected as well. Dembosky quotes Lanier as saying, "The ability to search and find information via a few keystrokes on Google is affecting our memory. Knowing that the name of an actor or piece of second world war trivia can be pulled up in seconds by Googling it, our ability to recall actual facts is diminished."
But not everyone agrees. Dembosky quotes psychologist Mike Anderson as saying that the brain has been adapting to new tools for learning since before it was even fully human. New neural patterns emerged when people began speaking, writing and doing mathematics. Operating computers is just the next evolution. According to Anderson, "There’s nothing markedly different from iPads or iPhones and a pen and paper. A truly radical technology that our brains couldn’t handle wouldn’t get picked up."
And what about our emotional lives? Dembosky quotes software technologist Jaron Lanier as saying, "I don’t think we’re making ourselves stupid or inferior, but I do think we’re making ourselves more narrow. We are losing a little bit of empathy for other people’s internal lives. We’re substituting ethics for empathy in more and more situations. In other words, we have logical reasons for being nice to each other rather than emotional reasons. We’re creating a mono brain "
What he’s describing is a sociopath–Is that what we’re all becoming in the West?
When MOTKE burst into Whitley’s hotel room in 1998, everyone remembers the predictions he made about climate change, but they forget that he made OTHER predictions as well–many of which have COME TRUE!