How the Web Became Our ‘External Brain,’ and What It Means for Our Kids

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BY MICHAEL HARRIS Recently, my two-year-old nephew Benjamin came across a copy of Vanity Fair abandoned on the floor. His eyes scanned the glossy cover, which shone less fiercely than the iPad he is used to but had a faint luster of its own. I watched his pudgy thumb and index finger pinch together and spread apart on Bradley Cooper’s smiling mug. At last, Benjamin looked over at me, flummoxed and frustrated, as though to say, “This thing’s broken.” Search YouTube for “baby” and “iPad” and you’ll find clips featuring one-year-olds attempting to manipulate magazine pages and television screens as though they were touch-sensitive displays. These children are one step away from assuming that such technology is a natural, spontaneous part of the material world. They’ll grow up thinking about the internet with the same nonchalance that I hold toward my toaster and teakettle. I can resist all I like, but for Benjamin’s generation resistance is moot. The revolution is already complete. Technology Is Evolving Just Like Our DNA Does With its theory of evolution, Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species may have outlined, back in 1859, an idea that explains our children’s relationship with iPhones and Facebook. We are now witness to a new kind of evolution, one played out by our technologies. More via WIRED.

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