I think I need to quote this whole chunk from Dave Pell:
My phone tells me numbers, Facebook reminds me of birthdays, my nav system gives me directions, Google tells me how to spell, my bookmarks remind me of what I’ve read, my inbox tells me who I’m having a conversation with – my mind has been distributed across several devices and services.
My head is in the cloud.
Now, after a few years of this, I realize that when I look up from the screen I know almost nothing. And maybe that would be fine if the absent phone numbers and upcoming dates were freeing space for deeper and more introspective thought. But I sense that my addiction to the realtime stream is only making room for the consumption of a faster stream.
Indeed. We need computers to extend our brains’ cognitive ability as well as just their trick of memory. (Ray Kurzweil has various things to say about this. Look him up if you like wild-eyed and optimistic futurism.)
In the meantime, I suppose we should strive to avoid “realtime stream” as best we can. Read novels. Experience good theatre, and watch long movies.