The External Brain

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David Brooks really nails an important part of the internet experience:

Until that moment, I had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less. It provides us with external cognitive servants — silicon memory systems, collaborative online filters, consumer preference algorithms and networked knowledge. We can burden these servants and liberate ourselves.

Right. I had a weird experience on Monday of playing on a pub trivia trivia team after not having done so for several years. Every time a question got asked that I didn’t know the answer to, I felt this overwhelming urge to reach for my iPhone, a device I didn’t have back in my earlier quizzing days. The idea of being limited to the information that was actually in my head was very distressing.