So, I finished that article the other day. I said I'd come back and write what I thought about it, with no real intent of doing so, but that's a cop out and I've resolved to stop doing that, so here I am.
I think that the article makes some truly salient points about the brain's ability to process multiple data streams at the same time through a crude form of parallelism being the root cause for focus and memory issues that seem to be much more commonplace in today's developed societies. To borrow a word from Mr. Colbert, this has a good 'truthiness' to it.
I do not mean to disparage Mr. Kirn in any way, but it is his job to be entertaining, and his piece is an opinion piece and very entertaining as well. He makes loose references to some presumably more rigorous studies, including a UCLA experiment that he gives little detail about, so presumably there is factual basis behind much of what he's writing, but it's not intended to be a representative article.
Do I believe him? Sure. But I also once believed in a man who is proven to be a con artist now, so I'm perhaps not best equipped to make snap judgments like this.
It's an interesting piece nonetheless, and very entertaining, and likely could form the basis of a good conversation.. maybe I'll have to give it a shot the next time I find myself in a social situation.