제목 구글이 사람을 바보로 만든다?
작성자 조선
조회수 25657 등록일 2008/6/19 (6:34)
구글이 사람을 바보로 만든다?
읽기와 사유를 바꾼 검색 왕국
단문형 정보 파편들의 흐름은 '지성의 毒'
깊은 사색없는 '팬케이크 인간' 전락 경고


전병근 기자 bkjeon@chosun.com 기자의 다른 기사보기
"이제 더 이상 '전쟁과 평화'(러시아 문호 톨스토이의 장편소설)는 못 읽겠다."

미국 미시간대 의대 교수이자 블로거(blogger)인 브루스 프리드먼(Friedman)은 최근 이런 고충을 주변에 털어놨다. 그는 "인터넷에서 수많은 단문(短文) 자료들을 훑다 보니, 생각하는 것도 '스타카토(staccato·짧게 끊어서 연주)'형이 됐다"며 "블로그에서도 3~4단락이 넘는 글은 이제 부담스러워 건너뛰게 된다"고 하소연했다. 오늘날 지식인들조차 인터넷에 얼마나 길들여졌는지를 보여주는 단면이다.

미국의 기술문명 평론가인 니컬러스 카(Carr)는 미 시사잡지 애틀랜틱 먼슬리 7~8월호에 게재한 '구글이 우리를 바보로 만든다고?'라는 제목의 글에서 인터넷이 우리의 읽기와 사유(思惟) 방식을 어떻게 바꿔 놓았는지를 심층 분석했다.

오늘날 인터넷은 우리의 인식 지도이자, 소통의 매개다. 눈과 귀를 통해 정신으로 흘러 들어가는 정보 대부분이 이 통로를 거친다. 인터넷은 이렇게 수많은 정보를 순식간에 찾아줘 인간에게 도움을 주지만, 동시에 인간의 뇌를 자기 식(式)대로 길들인다. 그 방식이란 '정보 파편'들의 신속한 흐름이다. 그 과정에서 인간의 집중과 사색 능력은 쇠퇴한다.

이런 '인터넷 혁명'의 중심에 강력한 검색 엔진인 구글이 있다. 구글이 추구하는 것은 "세계의 모든 정보를 조직화해 누구나 쉽게 사용하도록 만드는 것"이다. 이들은 자체 검색엔진과 다른 사이트들을 통해 수집한 네티즌들의 인터넷 사용에 관한 막대한 데이터를 토대로, 보다 검색 이용이 편리하도록 하루에도 수천 번씩 알고리즘을 다듬는 실험을 한다고 하버드 비즈니스 리뷰는 밝혔다. 그 결과, 정보를 찾고 의미를 추출하는 사람들의 방식에 대한 통제력을 키워간다.

구글은 한 걸음 더 나아가, 창업자인 세르게이 브린(Brin)의 말처럼 "세계의 모든 정보를 우리의 뇌, 혹은 그보다 더 영리한 인공두뇌에 직접 연결시키는 차원"을 꿈꾼다.

하지만 카는 구글로 대표되는 인터넷의 위험성은 인간의 뇌를 계량해서 최적화할 수 있는 일련의 기계적 과정의 산출로 본다는 데 있다고 비판했다. 카는 "구글이 이끄는 세계에는 깊은 사색 과정에서 나오는 '경계의 모호함' 따위는 들어설 여지가 없다"고 주장했다. 컴퓨터 연산에서 모호성은 통찰로 들어가는 입구가 아니라, 메워야 할 결함일 뿐이다.

인터넷은 또 인간 정신을 '초고속 정보처리 기계' 정도로 본다. 구글을 비롯한 인터넷 업체들은 우리가 인터넷 망을 옮겨 다니는 속도가 빠를수록, 즉 우리가 더 많은 링크를 클릭하고 더 많은 페이지를 찾아 볼수록 자신들의 수익은 커지고 고객에 대한 통제력도 높아진다. 카는 "이들이 제일 꺼리는 것은 한가롭게 한곳에 머물러 천천히 읽어내려 가거나, 골똘히 사색에 잠기는 것"이라고 주장했다. 하지만 그렇게 되면 인간은 '팬케이크(pancake) 인간', 즉 한 번의 손끝 터치로 방대한 정보망과 연결될 수는 있지만 응축된 사유의 공간은 사라진, 얇고 납작한 인간으로 전락하고 말 것이라고 카는 경고했다.


입력 : 2008.06.18 23:29

Nicholas Carr: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

[Note: This item comes from friend John McMullen. DLH]

From: “John F. McMullen” <observer@westnet.com>
Date: June 13, 2008 7:39:18 PM PDT
To: Commonweal Mailing List <commonweal@yahoogroups.com>, Dewayne Hendricks <dewayne@warpspeed.com>, Dave Farber <farber@cis.upenn.edu>
Cc: All Hallows Class of 1956 <ah56@yahoogroups.com>, CardinalFarley List <CardinalFarley@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Nicholas Carr: Is Google Making Us Stupid? (fwd)

From the Atlantic — <http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google>

Is Google Making Us Stupid?What the Internet is doing to our brains
by Nicholas Carr

“Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” So the
supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a
famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s *2001:
A Space Odyssey*. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by
the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory
circuits that control its artificial brain. “Dave, my mind is going,” HAL says, forlornly.
“I can feel it. I can feel it.”

I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense
that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the
neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I
can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can
feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a
lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the
narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling
through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my
concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety,
lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m
always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that
used to come naturally has become a struggle.

I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been
spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to
the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a
writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms
of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick
clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was
after. Even when I’m not working, I’m as likely as not to be foraging in the
Web’s info-thickets—reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog
posts, watching videos and listening to podcasts, or just tripping from link
to link to link. (Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened,
hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit
for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my
mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich
store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly
applauded. “The perfect recall of silicon memory,” *Wired*’s Clive Thompson has
written <http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/15-10/st_thompson>,
“can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As
the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not
just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but
they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing
is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind
now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a
swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of
words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

I’m not the only one. When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and
acquaintances—literary types, most of them—many say they’re having similar
experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay
focused on long pieces of writing. Some of the bloggers I follow have also
begun mentioning the phenomenon. Scott Karp, who writes a blog about online
media, recently confessed that he has stopped reading books altogether. “I
was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader,” he
wrote. “What happened?” He speculates on the answer: “What if I do all my
reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e. I’m
just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?”

Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine,
also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now
have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on
the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long
been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman
elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking,
he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly
scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read *War
and Peace* anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a
blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I
skim it.”

Anecdotes alone don’t prove much. And we still await the long-term
neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive
picture of how Internet use affects cognition. But a recently published
study of online research habits, conducted by scholars from University
College London, suggests that we may well be in the midst of a sea change in
the way we read and think. As part of the five-year research program, the
scholars examined computer logs documenting the behavior of visitors to two
popular research sites, one operated by the British Library and one by a
U.K. educational consortium, that provide access to journal articles,
e-books, and other sources of written information. They found that people
using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from one
source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited.
They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book
before they would “bounce” out to another site. Sometimes they’d save a long
article, but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read
it. The authors of the study report:

It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense;
indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users
“power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts
going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading
in the traditional sense.

Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet, not to mention the
popularity of text-messaging on cell phones, we may well be reading more
today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of
choice. But it’s a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different
kind of thinking—perhaps even a new sense of the self. “We are not only *
what* we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts
University and the author of *Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of
the Reading Brain
*. “We are *how* we read.” Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted
by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else,
may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when
an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of
prose commonplace. When we read online, she says, we tend to become “mere
decoders of information.” Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich
mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction,
remains largely disengaged.

Reading, explains Wolf, is not an instinctive skill for human beings. It’s
not etched into our genes the way speech is. We have to teach our minds how
to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand.
And the media or other technologies we use in learning and practicing the
craft of reading play an important part in shaping the neural circuits
inside our brains. Experiments demonstrate that readers of ideograms, such
as the Chinese, develop a mental circuitry for reading that is very
different from the circuitry found in those of us whose written language
employs an alphabet. The variations extend across many regions of the brain,
including those that govern such essential cognitive functions as memory and
the interpretation of visual and auditory stimuli. We can expect as well
that the circuits woven by our use of the Net will be different from those
woven by our reading of books and other printed works.

Sometime in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter—a Malling-Hansen
Writing Ball, to be precise. His vision was failing, and keeping his eyes
focused on a page had become exhausting and painful, often bringing on
crushing headaches. He had been forced to curtail his writing, and he feared
that he would soon have to give it up. The typewriter rescued him, at least
for a time. Once he had mastered touch-typing, he was able to write with his
eyes closed, using only the tips of his fingers. Words could once again flow
from his mind to the page.

But the machine had a subtler effect on his work. One of Nietzsche’s
friends, a composer, noticed a change in the style of his writing. His
already terse prose had become even tighter, more telegraphic. “Perhaps you
will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in
a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and
language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”

“You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the
forming of our thoughts.” Under the sway of the machine, writes the German
media scholar Friedrich A. Kittler, Nietzsche’s prose “changed from
arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram

The human brain is almost infinitely malleable. People used to think that
our mental meshwork, the dense connections formed among the 100 billion or
so neurons inside our skulls, was largely fixed by the time we reached
adulthood. But brain researchers have discovered that that’s not the case.
James Olds, a professor of neuroscience who directs the Krasnow Institute
for Advanced Study at George Mason University, says that even the adult mind
“is very plastic.” Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new
ones. “The brain,” according to Olds, “has the ability to reprogram itself
on the fly, altering the way it functions.”

As we use what the sociologist Daniel Bell has called our “intellectual
technologies”—the tools that extend our mental rather than our physical
capacities—we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those
technologies. The mechanical clock, which came into common use in the 14th
century, provides a compelling example. In *Technics and Civilization*, the
historian and cultural critic Lewis Mumford described how the clock
“disassociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an
independent world of mathematically measurable sequences.” The “abstract
framework of divided time” became “the point of reference for both action
and thought.”

The clock’s methodical ticking helped bring into being the scientific mind
and the scientific man. But it also took something away. As the late MIT
computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum observed in his 1976 book, *Computer
Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation*, the conception of the
world that emerged from the widespread use of timekeeping instruments
“remains an impoverished version of the older one, for it rests on a
rejection of those direct experiences that formed the basis for, and indeed
constituted, the old reality.” In deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep,
to rise, we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock.

The process of adapting to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the
changing metaphors we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. When the
mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating
“like clockwork.” Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of
them as operating “like computers.” But the changes, neuroscience tells us,
go much deeper than metaphor. Thanks to our brain’s plasticity, the
adaptation occurs also at a biological level.

The Internet promises to have particularly far-reaching effects on
cognition. In a paper published in 1936, the British mathematician Alan
Turing proved that a digital computer, which at the time existed only as a
theoretical machine, could be programmed to perform the function of any
other information-processing device. And that’s what we’re seeing today. The
Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is subsuming most of
our other intellectual technologies. It’s becoming our map and our clock,
our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and
our radio and TV.

When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image.
It injects the medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other
digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the
other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may
announce its arrival as we’re glancing over the latest headlines at a
newspaper’s site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our

The Net’s influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen, either.
As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media,
traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations.
Television programs add text crawls and pop-up ads, and magazines and
newspapers shorten their articles, introduce capsule summaries, and crowd
their pages with easy-to-browse info-snippets. When, in March of this year,
*The**New York Times* decided to devote the second and third pages of every
edition to article abstracts, its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained
that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s
news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages
and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the
new-media rules.

Never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives—or
exerted such broad influence over our thoughts—as the Internet does today.
Yet, for all that’s been written about the Net, there’s been little
consideration of how, exactly, it’s reprogramming us. The Net’s intellectual
ethic remains obscure.




Dean Mercer
[2008/11/13 (6:26)]


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[2008/12/29 (6:7)]
<a href="http://mileycyrus60.blogspot.com/">miley

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