- For starters its changing the way we think and I say for the better. As one who has consistently struggled with facts and figures having instant access to every single iota inforamtion known to man including 404,000 different results for "how a flux capacitor works" found in .21 seconds. So instead of getting bogged down in mucky facts we can spend more time creating meaningful connections. Interesting article from the The Atlantic.
- It's slowly gnawing away at the social fabric of the human race. So while we are increasing our ability to form new and creative connections in our brain our ability to form new and creative relationships with people is slowly degrading. All those neat ideas and nobody at a cocktail party to share them with. In fact several researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study on this very subject and found a strong correlation between facebook friends on and perceived popularity. People with 300 facebook friends tended to be the most popular.
- It's the best and worst thing to happen to the practice of science, since like forever. The scientific community like any other group whose practitioners must adhere to a strict set of principals and practices lest they be cast out forever (religious leaders anybody?), develop a manner of elitism. And In a practice where radical ideas and theories thrust the discipline forward this environment is most detrimental to it's advancement. Like the written word before it (yes I am comparing the internet to the invention of written language) the web provides a place where all ideas maybe given equal credence; judged by the merit of the theory and the quality of its evidence alone. Herein lies the problem like 90% of people will never look at the quality of supporting evidence, much less it's existence. Ideas spread like wildfire in an Australian outback (too soon?) and evidence is pushed to the wayside. On the plus side people pushing revolutionary ideas now have more of a voice than ever before, but the almost virus like dissemination of ideas is without an adequate dam to hold back the deluge of information pouring forth from your computer.
-Billout, Guy. Is Google Making Us Stupid?. The Atlantic.
-World Internet Usage Statistics. Available from Internet http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm