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Oh, please...

Published Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 6:54 AM EDT
Jun 25 2013

"Doctors have reported a surge in cases of ‘digital dementia’ among young people.

"They say that teenagers have become so reliant on digital technology they are no longer able to remember everyday details such as their phone numbers. South Korean experts have found that those who rely more on technology suffer a deterioration in cognitive abilities more commonly seen in patients who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness."

Digital dementia?

Oh, please.

My daughter had problems reading analog clocks because she grew up surrounded with digital displays. I don't remember the phone numbers of the friends and business associates I've acquired since the advent of smartphones.

But- I remember the phone number of my mother, my kids, my family doctor, the local drug store. I remember my Pennsylvania drivers' license number.

We remember what we need to remember: what's important.

Brains are pretty smart. They learn things. They organically know there are limits to memory and, therefore, store and discard data based upon its importance and accessibility.

While I'm not as fanatical as some who have adopted his system, I agree with David Allen's Getting Things Done approach, which pretty much boils down to the rule: get stuff out of your brain and written down somewhere.

I have a daily to-do list in Microsoft Outlook that contains 30 tasks that need to be completed every day by 10 am. Some make fun of me for doing this, or say I need to simplify my life- but simplifying my life in a way that somehow still addresses their needs.

In any event, I've found that on days when I've neglected the list, I've forgotten at least three or four items on it- taking medication, making certain my cellphone is charged, reminding someone else of something they need to do that will affect me down the line.

A long time ago I realized that I didn't have to know everything, I just needed to know where to look. With the advent of Google and online search engines, the statement needs some modification: I don't need to know everything, I just need to know how to look. I learned how to phrase questions and build inquiries, so that my online searches return the precise information for which I'm looking, not pages and pages of irrelevant references.

Albert Einstein said, "A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels." Should I develop the part of my brain that stores telephone numbers, or the part that stores knowledge about using systems that store far more information than I could ever possibly stuff into that fat-based, hormone-soaked chunk of wetwear between my ears?

And where did I leave my cellphone?

(Original article.)

Categories: KGB Opinion

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