Right around the time we all started getting mobile phones, people often used to comment that they were losing the ability to remember phone numbers.
As we get used to having Google on-demand, people are starting to say that they’re using the ability to remember anything.
Much as it may upset the Daily Telegraph, this is a rational response to the acquision of our new information super-powers. When information was hard to get, you needed to spend your time hoarding knowledge that you might need. Now that we can pull up all the information we want in a few minutes, it makes sense to tune out anything you don’t immediately need .
Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus writes:
Q: What do you get when you combine the Feiler Faster Thesis (voters are comfortable processing info quickly) with the Theory of the Two Electorates (the mass of voters who don’t follow politics are less informed than they used to be and only tune in at the last minute)…
A: You get elections that are a) close but b) might not look close three, two, or even one day before the vote…
In the US primaries, a few people here have commented how badly out a lot of the polling has been. It would be interested to know if the late surges that have been a feature of this race are a result of more people making their minds up later in a way they didn’t used to – which could, in turn, be a result of the way the internet has change the way we think.
If this is what’s happening, it will have implications well beyond the US race; Polling will get less reliable, and politicians who fail to grasp what Google has done to our brains will lose.