This video, while humorous, looks at the phenomenon of information overload in our daily lives. Fifteen years into the Internet (plus or minus for most of us), the problem is quite topical.
Nicholas Carr treats the same question in last year's Pulitzer-prize nominated book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, arguing from a battery of neurological studies that our browsing habits and related digital media consumption prevent us from learning in any deep or meaningful way. For instance, the inherent difficulty of "deep reading"-- that is, immersed, focused and reflective reading -- in the digital world is a consequence of the kinetic nature of the internet, and prevents information from going from the short-term to the long-term portions of our brains. Our tendency to always go from one interesting bit to another actually forms the neurological pathways that control how we think. It tends to inhibit learning, and ultimately, Carr even argues, suppresses our capacity to attain wisdom. The Shallows began as a celebrated and controversial 2008 cover story for The Atlantic Monthly, called "Is Google Making us Stupid?". The book is well worth reading for anyone concerned, in a Marshall McLuhan vein, about the effects of the digital media upon the cognitive, and ultimately spiritual dimensions of our consciousness. From the dust jacket:
Building on insights from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic--a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption--and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.