From his Wired column, republished on Collision Detection:
[T]he cyborg future is here. Almost without noticing it, we've outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us.
And frankly, I kind of like it. I feel much smarter when I'm using the Internet as a mental plug-in during my daily chitchat…. Machine memory even changes the way I communicate, because I continually stud my IMs with links, essentially impregnating my very words with extra intelligence.
You could argue that by offloading data onto silicon, we free our own gray matter for more germanely "human" tasks like brainstorming and daydreaming. What's more, the perfect recall of silicon memory can be an enormous boon to thinking. For example, I've been blogging for four years, which means I've poured out about a million words' worth of my thoughts online. This regularly produces the surreal and delightful experience of Googling a topic only to unearth an old post that I don't even remember writing. The machine helps me rediscover things I'd forgotten I knew — it's what author Cory Doctorow refers to as an "outboard brain."
Still, I have nagging worries. Sure, I'm a veritable genius when I'm on the grid, but am I mentally crippled when I'm not? Does an overreliance on machine memory shut down other important ways of understanding the world?