Without getting too much into the way one interprets “intelligence”, you have to consider that there are different ways one can define intelligence, and therefore, stupidity by association. though it is ludicrous to believe something that brings so much information accessible to be anything but beneficial- we have to keep an open mind to the effects to which it has on our way of thinking. The “way we think” is probably a less ambiguous debate than the topic of stupidity. Having said that, the way we think has most certainly changed. In a time before the internet/ Google, it is not illogical to assume memory retention was more valued in a way someone thinks. Due to the relative difficulty in finding the right information, in the right source, at the right time. In one fine sweep, the internet has made values such as memory retention and attention in general, to be less relevant. At a click of a button you can find the right information, in one source, at any time you want. And thus, memory retention might not be prioritized as being as important as it would have been. but that doesn’t mean we are getting more stupid. Just indicates our brain is evolving to utilize cognitive functions in a more effective way; take away our need to retain information- and we will concentrate cognitive powers into other segments of our mind. However, this is only true should the internet be our ONLY source of information. If the internet were to be used as a be all and end all of your thought process than we are merely regurgitating information. rational thought has to chime in at some stage, and that requires working memory/ memory retention. There are some that would have us believe that online search aids such as Google and the web in general are effectively hindering our cognitive functions to some degree. In short, making us stupid (or more so than we would have been). Mr Nicholas Carr would be right in this regard if, as stated earlier, the internet was your sole chain of thought. the fact of the matter is, the internet is NOT making us stupid. How can it? when it is a just a source of information. The onus lies on us to know what the internet should be used for, not to replace cognitive function completely- but just as a tool. a tool used to attain raw data in which WE can apply rational thought to and interpret ourselves. fundamentally, only the uneducated would suffer from the use of the internet/ Google.
Is Google making us stupid?
- Has it affected our ability to concentrate?
- Consider Carr’s argument, do you agree?
Google and the internet is not in particular making us stupid, however it is changing the ways in which we retain, absorb and use information. The internet is always at our finger tips, therefore we may not feel the need to remember basic fast that we take for granted. However if we can not remember the information we are not making sense of it, breaking it down or building on our basic knowledge base. It’s impossible to be able to explore or have new discoveries without a knowledge of the pasts of such information. For example, you can’t not invent a new computer program without a basic knowledge of how computers work.
If you consider an optimistic point of view Google could also make us smarter, Google and the internet could provide those of us without access to information via traditional sources, such as a community library or a university education the opportunity to learn and read information for free. For example if I decided to learn about Economics I would be able to Google the topics and read explanations about the information.
Carr’s argument, that Google is taking away our need for a deeper meaning is a rather pessimistic view of Google and the Internet, even if Carr’s views maybe true the internet like many other technologies is not going away. Even Socrates objected to writing because it took away our reliance on our own memories to remember information. Rather it would be better for us to educate children about the importance of remembering information, making sense of such information and evaluating it for a more deeper meaning.