Speaking to graduates of Hampton University last weekend, Obama warned that technologies like the iPad and Xboxes turn information into a "diversion," rather than a means to better ourselves and our society. Tech fans derided him for his "out of touch" statements. Unfortunately, says Daniel Lyons in Newsweek, "he's right." Not only do "our digital tools serve only to enslave us," they turn us into “zombie people.” Here, an excerpt:
"We have more information than ever before. We're never away from it. The air around us fairly hums with it. Computers are all around us too—they're on our desks, in our pockets, on our coffee tables.
"And yet I can't shake the sense that we are all becoming stupider and stupider—and that we are, on average, less well informed today than we were a generation ago....
"Meanwhile, in the midst of all this, Glenn Beck has become an influential television commentator, and Sarah Palin is a credible candidate for president in 2012. You think this is a coincidence?
"No way. What's happening is this: we are being so overwhelmed by the noise and junk zooming past us that we're becoming immune to it. We've become a nation of Internet-powered imbeciles, with an ever-lower threshold for inanity."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- The safest seats are at the back of the plane — and 5 other surprising facts about airline crashes
- How to flirt, according to science
Subscribe to the Week