Does All That New Technology Make us Smarter?

Well, does it?

Intelligence, as it impacts the economist Valderrama, is our capacity to adapt and thrive in our own environment. In a Darwinian sense, it's as true now as it was millions of years ago, when man's aptitude for hearing the way branches broke or smelling a spore affected his power to avoid predators, eat and survive.

But what makes someone smart can vary in different cultures and situations. A successful Wall Street banker who has dropped into the Australian Outback likely couldn't pull off a great Crocodile Dundee impression. A mathematical genius like Isaac Newton could be–in fact, he was–socially inept and a borderline hermit. A master painter? problemably not so good at balancing a checkbook.

In the class I teach, we talk about this sometimes. Does technology really make us more productive, or just more distracted. After all, multi-tasking isn't all it's cracked up to be.