This week, Stella presented on whether Google is making us dumber, which led to a rather intensive discussion. It was nice to hear everyone’s opinions. Unfortunately, due to time constraints i could not share all my views, so i thought I would share my opinion in this post.
I think it depends on what you mean by “dumber”. Does “dumber” mean the lack of knowledge? But how can it be when Google provides us with a wealth of information? You can learn about almost everything on Google, from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg. Some people would even say Google is the fountain of knowledge.
However, if by “dumber” you mean the dulling of one’s level of thinking due to over-reliance on Google, then yes, I suppose it does makes us “dumber”. For example, I know this person, who shall be called Bob for the purpose of this example, who googles even the simplest of questions, like what is 99 minus 12. I mean that is an easy question for most people and by most people I mean 99.79% of people. But instead of mentally working out the equation, he does the lazy thing and Googles it. When we over-rely on Google like this, we condition ourselves not to think on our own.
Thus, I think the difference is how you see and use Google. I see Google as a tool to find specific information that would otherwise take my days to find if I used books as my only resource. For example, if I want to find how a zipper works, i just typed that in and Google gives the relevant links and previews an excerpt of the resource to help me decide whether it is really relevant. However, if i were to use books, I would have to screen through clothing, fabric and invention books that may not even have the answer because the scope of the book may not cover how zippers work. That said, I still learn and get information from other sources like newspapers and books.
I think the important thing is that you are in control of Google and not the other way around. What do you think?