The Internet as Cognitive Enhancement

Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2345-2362 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The Internet has been identified in human enhancement scholarship as a powerful cognitive enhancement technology. It offers instant access to almost any type of information, along with the ability to share that information with others. The aim of this paper is to critically assess the enhancement potential of the Internet. We argue that unconditional access to information does not lead to cognitive enhancement. The Internet is not a simple, uniform technology, either in its composition, or in its use. We will look into why the Internet as an informational resource currently fails to enhance cognition. We analyze some of the phenomena that emerge from vast, continual fluxes of information–information overload, misinformation and persuasive design—and show how they could negatively impact users’ cognition. Methods for mitigating these negative impacts are then advanced: individual empowerment, better collaborative systems for sorting and categorizing information, and the use of artificial intelligence assistants that could guide users through the informational space of today’s Internet.

Similar books and articles

The Cognitive Ecology of the Internet.Paul Smart, Richard Heersmink & Robert Clowes - 2017 - In Stephen Cowley & Frederic Vallée-Tourangeau (eds.), Cognition Beyond the Brain: Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice (2nd ed.). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 251-282.
Cognitive enhancement. Effort of definition, and methods.Artur Gunia - 2015 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 6 (2-3):35-56.
Integration of cognitive and moral enhancement.Vojin Rakic - 2012 - Filozofija I Društvo 23 (2):91-103.
Smart Policy: Cognitive Enhancement and the Public Interest.Nick Bostrom - forthcoming - In Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Muelen & Guy Kahane (eds.), Enhancing Human Capabilities. Wiley-Blackwell.
Cognitive Enhancement: Methods, Ethics, Regulatory Challenges. [REVIEW]Nick Bostrom - 2009 - Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (3):311-341.
Cognitive extension, enhancement, and the phenomenology of thinking.Philip J. Walsh - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (1):33-51.
Koncepcje wzmocnienia poznawczego. Próba definicji oraz przegląd metod.Artur Gunia - 2015 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 6 (2-3):35-56.
The Social Scaffolding of Machine Intelligence.Paul Smart - 2017 - International Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems 10 (3&4):261–279.
Should Internet Researchers Use Ill-Gotten Information?David M. Douglas - 2018 - Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (4):1221-1240.
Immaterial engagement: human agency and the cognitive ecology of the internet.Robert W. Clowes - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (1):259-279.
The Internet as Friend or Foe of Intellectual Freedom.Elizabeth Buchanan - 2004 - International Review of Information Ethics 2.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-04-06

Downloads
250 (#59,235)

6 months
57 (#34,455)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Constantin Vica
University of Bucharest
Emilian Mihailov
University of Bucharest