I am currently reading Lewis Wolpert's book Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast in which he suggests that it was the need to develop tools and feed ourselves that caused the human brain to evolve the ability to think causally rather than the desire to be social as is commonly believed.
Briefly - and over simplifying horrendously - as slime develops into an organism that develops an eye to find food the eye needs somewhere for its signals to be processed. When you start to add ears to hear, mouths to taste and limbs which can touch you need an ever more complex brain to process these inputs to allow food to be found more effectively. Once you get to the stage of understanding causality you are on the way to the capacity for thought, language and social understanding that distinguishes us from the rest of life on the planet.
I started wondering what would happen if we applied these ideas to our assumptions about technology and in particular social computing and Web 2.0. We tend to be a bit squeamish about the technology and subordinate it to the social activities it supports but what if the technology was actually teaching us new behaviours? What if the development of new tools and new technological environments began to actually change the way we think and eventually to alter the way our brains work?