Every generation has been challenged by new powers of vision, memory, perspective, attention and reach," says Brin. He cites inventions as old as Gutenberg's printing press for evidence. "The press was originally used for pamphleteering," he reminds us, which in the short term, made it seem like it was degrading the public discourse. And as Time recently reminded us, Kodak cameras, after first being introduced in the late 1800s, were banned from beaches and feared by those who valued privacy. In recent decades, Google's core product, the search engine, has also been subject to considerable consternation. (Remember The Atlantic cover story, 'Is Google Making Us Stupid?')
"Every time this [technological change] happens, grouches proclaimed that humans were never meant to do this, that we never evolved to or weren't created to handle that kind of information flow. They were always right in the short term. The transcendentalists who would claim this would make us bigger, better and wiser were always wrong in the short term."