Twitter co-founder and Medium CEO Ev Williams said he got excited about the Web because he thought that with more information at our fingertips it would make people smarter.
But the rising popularity of social media sites also created an environment where people have become wired to respond to short-term feedback such as the numbers of likes on a tweet or an Instagram post.
"We get hooked on that just like we get hooked on sugar," he said on stage at Recode's annual Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.
When Williams looked at the cycle before Donald Trump was elected president, he doesn't think people are becoming more intelligent.
More information doesn't make you smarter, he said, if people don't know how to digest or contextualize it.
"I think part of it is just the limits of the human attention span," he said.