(These are excerpts from my book "Intelligence is not Artificial")
Anthropological Intermezzo: You Are a Gadget
The combination of phones, computers and networks has put each individual in touch with a great number of other individuals, more than at any time in history: humankind at your fingertips. This is certainly lucrative for businesses that want to reach as many consumers as possible with their adverts. But do ordinary people really benefit from being connected to thousands of people, and soon millions? What happens to solitude, meditation, to "thinking" in general (whether scientific thinking or personal recollection) when we are constantly interacting with a multitude of minds (only some of which really care)?
You "are" the people with whom you interact, because they influence who you become. In the old days those were friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers. Now they are strangers spread all over the world (and old acquaintances with whom you only share distant memories). Do you really want to be "them" rather than being yourself?
You are no surrounding yourself with people: you are surrounding yourself with gadgets like smartphones and laptops.
If you surround yourself with philosophers, you are likely to become a philosopher, even if only an amateur one. If you surround yourself with book readers, you are likely to read a lot of books. If you surround yourself with physicists, you are likely to understand Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. And so on. So what is likely to happen to you if you surround yourself with gadgets that mediate your interaction with people and with the world at large?
It is infinitely easier to produce/accumulate information than to understand it and make others understand it.
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