Google CEO on Internet Learning vs. Book Learning

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Charlie Rose Friday night (3/6/9) to talk about all things Google and technology. It’s a fascinating discussion (privacy, group learning, etc.), but I just want to point one thing he had  to say about the learning in the information age:

I worry that the level of interrupt, the sort of overwhelming rapidity of information — and especially of stressful information — is in fact affecting cognition. It is in fact affecting deeper thinking. I still believe that sitting down and reading a book is the best way to really learn something. And I worry that we’re losing that. (quote starts: 42:00 )

This is important to people of faith because in our attempts to be relevant and “speak the language” of the culture, we sometimes forget that today’s mediums influence a core part of being a Christian – loving God deeply with our minds. In our fervor not to fall behind technologically, we sometimes end up being more excited about a technology’s potential than those outside the church. Instead of falling behind in implementation, we fall behind in understanding.

We do well to  use websites and new media to reach people for the Kingdom, but we must remember to keep our identity as a people of the book, however irrelevant that might be.

If you don’t believe me, ask the CEO of the most powerful company in the world.

(HT: Nicholas Carr)

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John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at http://j.hn/.

4 thoughts on “Google CEO on Internet Learning vs. Book Learning”

  1. Thanks for this! I see this trap frequently. I love technology, and am easily caught up in the latest fad or innovative method to the point where I lose sight of the mission.

    That said, If I have a choice to read something on a screen or on the page, the page wins every time. Books FTW!

    1. It does seem that the screen and page are good for different things! The screen is better at quick info-tainment, but the book seems better for undistracted learning.

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