The Outsourced Brain
David Brooks has an awesome editorial on the growing reliance on technology to remember for us, and after the quote below, I’ll have some thoughts about what that means to us as citizens and voters.
Memory? Iâ€™ve externalized it. I am one of those baby boomers who are making this the â€œItâ€™s on the Tip of My Tongue Decade.â€ But now I no longer need to have a memory, for I have Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia. Now if I need to know some fact about the world, I tap a few keys and reap the blessings of the external mind.
Personal information? Iâ€™ve externalized it. Iâ€™m no longer clear on where I end and my BlackBerry begins. When I want to look up my passwords or contact my friends I just hit a name on my directory. I read in a piece by Clive Thompson in Wired that a third of the people under 30 canâ€™t remember their own phone number. Their smartphones are smart, so they donâ€™t need to be. Todayâ€™s young people are forgoing memory before they even have a chance to lose it.
Now, you may wonder if in the process of outsourcing my thinking I am losing my individuality. Not so. My preferences are more narrow and individualistic than ever. Itâ€™s merely my autonomy that Iâ€™m losing.
So, how important is that autonomy? Is it important to unfold yourself from the collective consciousness of the web? Is original thought dead? Well, I don’t have the answer to that, but as Brooks points out…he now has more time to become a pickier person. Coincidence? I think not.
So it’s prediction time!
It’s my opinion that Generation Y and the generations that come after it will demand different points of view from their political parties and the stranglehold the two party system has on us is getting looser by the month. The government they’ve built has gotten us this far, yes, but their foundations are shaky at best. People don’t buy into ideology anymore because we’re a world that is increasingly interested in ideas.
Also, if people’s lives are becoming increasingly more personalized, our two parties can not make their politics increasingly more homogenized. Because if they think voters are angry and unsatisfied now, just wait another 4 years when the tail end of Generation Y are really at the age where they become interested in voting. Things will get messy.
What do you think?