The Online Brain
M. Nina Miller
A growing reliance on digital systems is gradually subverting human cognition by making it more difficult for individuals to maintain attention, remember information, and think critically. When was the last time you memorized a phone number or address? Perhaps you hop between multiple screens at your job— checking a text at the same time that an Instagram notification pops up and you simultaneously Google search a work-related query. This gradual impairment of human cognition erodes three pillars of democracy: a well-informed population, resilience to foreign influence, and the capacity for effective public debates.
This publication is part of a ten-part Institute for Security and Technology (formerly Tech4GS) and Center for a New American Security (CNAS) commentary series from Tech4GS’ M. Nina Miller, Alexa Wehsener, and Vera Zakem as we dive into digital trends likely to impact democracy in the next decade. To learn more about this project, visit our Future Digital Threats to Democracy page.download pdf