Socrates Was Wrong and Bo is Right
Did you know that Socrates prophesied and wrote that the written word is the enemy of memory? In an interesting dialogue Socrates recounts the story of the god Theuth, who offers the king Thamus the gift of writing things down using letters:
This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit. Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.
Indeed Socrates may have been correct about memory, but there is/was no other way to achieve what humans have achieved in the last several millennium.
With that in mind, I have read all sorts of studies about the death of memory, logic, and cognitive thought taken away from us by the advent of the digital age. To all those who "fear" the results I say that Socrates may not have been wrong about our memories' ability to store thought, but the positive changes in society since then speak for themselves.
His conclusions were wrong and so are most of these studies about e-readers. If not wrong, then the conclusions aren't telling the whole picture. Our digital society is moving on, and this isn't the death of learning. Nor will our sons and daughters appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will not be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.
We aren't and neither will they be.
Every generation always comes up with studies and scientific research that suggests that the next generation has problems that the current generation doesn't. That they can't read, can't focus and can't think like we did is totally absurd. The only truth is that they will say the same things of their children's generation. That is the surest of all predictions.