我们常问的一个问题是 新技术 互联网
So, one of the questions that we’re all asking now is what effect are the new technologies,
the Internet, computers, cell phones, screens going to have on the next generation of children?
答案是 直到20年后这些孩子长大 我们才会知道
The answer is we won’t know for another 20 years until those children grow up.
But I think we can make some guesses based on our past human history.
关于人类 很重要的一点是 我们从一开始就是
One of the things about human beings is that we’ve been technological beings from the very
实际上 在某种程度上 这是我们最独特的一点 我们使用工具
In fact, in a way that’s the thing that’s most distinctive about us, we use tools.
We modify and change our environments.
We create new ways of being in the world, both physically and socially.
And that’s what we’ve always done and we’ve always changed.
We’ve always had culture, which enabled us to take the inventions of one generation and
then modify or change them to suit another generation.
So the fact that we have technology and the fact that that technology changes and it changes
across generations, none of that’s new.
但是神奇的是 这种文化性改变的影响的一部分在于 随我们长大的
But curiously part of the effect of that cultural change is it always seems as if the technology
技术似乎是永恒的 它就是世界的一部分 一直在那里
that we grew up with is eternal, it’s just part of nature; it has always been there.
And the technology that our children come up with is part of a dystopian Mad Max future
And that’s also been true for as long as we’ve been around as human beings.
So, many of the technologies that you could argue really did have transformative effects
on us are things like the printing press, the telegraph, the train.
We don’t think about a telegraph as being an amazingly disruptive new technology, but
when telegraphs and trains were introduced there were just as many editorials in the
paper saying these are awful ideas.
They’re going to reshape our lives in ways that are going to be completely destructive
of human happiness.
Now in some ways that’s right.
I mean the printing press really did completely change the way that we related to the world
and related to each other.
The telegraph meant that we went from communicating at the speed of a fast horse to communicating
at the speed of light.
That made an enormous change in the way that we functioned and related to one another.
And I think it’s quite plausible that things like the Internet are also going to make a
change in the way that we think, the way we relate to one another.
But the assumption that somehow this time it’s different, this is going to be the change
that’s going to destroy our brains or destroy our minds it doesn’t really fit our history
and it doesn’t fit what we know from neuroscience and psychology about the way that childhood
is this kind of cauldron of innovation.
So one of the reasons why we have this effect, this kind of ratchet, this sense that the
technological change in our generation is totally different than any of the others is
that there’s a big difference between the way we learn with an adult brain and the way
we learn with a child’s brain.
So for adults when they learn a new skill it demands tremendous amounts of attention
and energy and working memory.
We have to put a lot of work into learning how to do something new.
So when I have to figure out how to use my cell phone, for example, it feels effortful.
我的意思是 这很花功夫 并且很容易分散注意力
I mean it is effortful and distracting.
That’s very differrant though from what happens with the skills that we learn when we’re in
the first couple of years of life, things like learning to speak or even learning to
When I walk through a crowded street full of billboards I don’t feel as if I’m constantly
being distracted because I have to decode what all those letters on all those billboards
And that’s because I learned to do that at such a young age that it literally just takes
place automatically without higher level control.
And it seems plausible that that for a new generation children who are interacting with
devices from the time their babies with touch and voice that kind of interaction will be
as natural and spontaneous for them as reading is for me.
Now they’ll be different.
It won’t be the same as reading because interacting with a screen is different from reading.
But I don’t see any particular reason to believe that that’s going to be that terrible evil
technology as opposed to all the other technologies.
Socrates famously said that reading was a terrible idea.
Books were not a good idea because first of all they would destroy our ability to do things
比如记住荷马的一切话其次 如果有一本书 你就会思考
like memorize all the words of Homer, and secondly if you had a book you would think
that what was written in the book was true instead of engaging in a Socratic dialogue
with the information in the book.
And Socrates was right about both of those things.
No one nowadays has a memory that’s good enough to memorize Homer, and we do tend to think
that things in books are true and we can’t interrogated them the same way we could in
But overall by and large the benefits outweighed the harms and I think that’s going to be true
for the new technology that we’re grappling with now.
我们常问的一个问题是 新技术 互联网