September 20th, 2013
Dammit, another book to add to the reading list. On the face of it, Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better seems to capture somethng about the way I use tools like Evernote and Pinboard as an outboard brain. Here's an excerpt:
Is the Internet ruining our ability to remember facts? If you've ever lunged for your smartphone during a bar argument ("one-hit father of twerking pop star" – Billy Ray Cyrus!), then you've no doubt felt the nagging fear that your in-brain memory is slowly draining away. As even more fiendishly powerful search tools emerge – from IBM's Jeopardy!-playing Watson to the "predictive search" of Google Now – these worries are, let's face it, only going to grow.
So what's going on? Each time we reach for the mouse pad when we space out on the ingredients for a Tom Collins or the capital of Arkansas, are we losing the power to retain knowledge?
The short answer is: No. Machines aren't ruining our memory.
The longer answer: It's much, much weirder than that! [...]