Author Topic: "Is Google making us stupid?"  (Read 3924 times)

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Stardale

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"Is Google making us stupid?"
« on: December 13, 2008, 11:20:35 AM »
((thanks mojane for allowing me to open this here))

That's the title of this article: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

^What do you think about that?

For me, yes internet really is so convenient. I just type out some keywords and voila, lots of information at hand. It also shows information on somethings I otherwise would not have known in the first place. However, not all are credible and reliable.

As to whether it had made me think differently, I cannot be sure. Yes I do a lot of skimming but that does not mean that I am having a hard time involving myself to what I read. Plus, psychologically, internet may not just be the cause of thinking differently, if ever I do think differently now. Growing up, outside interactions... they all count.

zekallinos

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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2008, 01:58:46 PM »
Shift Happens.
An interesting video about what our exponential development does. I will highlight 2.7 Billion searches are performed on google...this month. To who those questions were asked B.G. (Before Google)? and also A week's worth of New York Times contains more information then what a XVI century person is likely to encounter in a lifetime.

So, to begin with, having more sources of information cannot make you dumber. People were dumber before. Or were they? No, no mater what technology we have, there will always be the manipulator and the manipulated. Using different means. In fact, comparing ourselves to the past is the primary method of making us think we are smart while we are not. (Just like comparing ourselves to communists - the capitalists are not better, but the true rulers (governement = middle class unlike what you'd think) are well hidden, so we think we are so perfect compared to that "brainwashed" country. The same method is used by the other side, stating that they have the state to protect you and so on).

Have you ever considered that your book could be wrong? A person wrote it. Just like a person wrote that web page. In fact, you can hardly prove that any information at all is reliable. But there is a difference between internet and popular media (I refer to news and newspapers). Internet are the extremes. Yes, like you said, there is total bullshit, whether the person didn't know he was wrong or just wanted to screw you up. But when a person is right, they are not doing that for money or popularity or have any restrictions whatsoever. Unlike the media, who are there to make money, they will modify the information so it serves them better. But because they won't say anything totally false (so you can't blame them), they look more reliable. However, information will be reformulated to make people think in their subconscious or interpret the information not like it was supposed to be. A good example is when my French teacher mentioned how the Three Georges Dam flooded a vast region and the students were like "why are they doing this? This is evil". Dammit, WE HAVE LIKE 99999 DAMS HERE IN QUEBEC! And I think it's for energy production.

That's the kind of manipulation I refer to. Subtle, efficient (and not always voluntary - my teacher meant no harm). However, on internet, there will sometimes be people who will say things like they are supposed to be said. So not only do you get the right information, you understand the right information. Another thing on internet are discussions. In these, there are many points of views, and other people to bring out flaws that you may otherwise not notice. The media, however, are one-sided (P.S. Publicity also manipulate your view of the world. Especially with graphic editing tools out)..

In short words, reliable or not, don't think the "reliable sources" are more reliable.

In quantity, Google makes us smarter. In relativity to what there is to know, we haven't progressed since the time the human race was born.

Now, Google shouldn't be used like "speed information" when you want to make an academic essay or so. Google is the magic way to have general culture. Many people think nerds are "not cool" by reading tons of books and all that. To be honest, they aren't wrong. While you supposedly learn better or true stuff, it's boring. If it's boring, you're not motivated to do it. So you don't do it to begin with. Sometimes, you  just want to know what that word or terms means. You don't want to learn the full Quantum Mechanics theory, all you want to know is that it is a theory on subatomic particles! So with only 5 seconds of your life, you will at least not look ignorant when you next hear that term. (Beware, with a few of these 5 seconds every so and then, you may be an intelligent person! Oh noes!)

As for brain reprogramming, that's a "feature" of our brain that makes the human race intelligent and adaptable. It happens every now and then. When we started agriculture and settled down. When we started using money. We we started having organized civilizations. When the industrial age came, and we started living in packed up metropolises. It doesn't make us worse or better, just different. (Naturally, suppose we loose energy production capacity and we are dependent on the computer and hardwares, we are in trouble, but that's another story).

Ah, feels good to flush out thoughts  :reivsmile:.

Valtier

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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2008, 03:49:41 PM »
Wait.  How is the ability to easily attain information making us dumb?  :p

Muffin

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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2008, 03:55:43 PM »
Wait.  How is the ability to easily attain information making us dumb?  :p
I think it's actually making us smarter, well, that's just me..
(Shouldn't this be in the debate section?..)
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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2008, 04:15:20 PM »
(Shouldn't this be in the debate section?..)

I was thinking the same thing. Done.

And I mostly agree with Valtier. I often get distracted online, but I usally end up discovering something interesting and somhow useful.
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Reives

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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2008, 04:38:01 PM »
Well said @Zeka. I'll probably respond later today. And thanks for moving this Abi; I was just gonna.

soranokira

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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2008, 11:44:53 PM »
First thing first, define 'making us stupid'. changing our way of thought and the style of life we're used to making us stupid? Even worse, the article states that Google is trying to 'make us stupid'. Is offering a convenient way of seeking whatever is sought after 'harmful/making us stupid'?

Google offers us a wide variety of data based on what we type in, the data is true or false is up to us to interpret. It's just the same as teachers teaching students. They 'teach' you the stuff, how you utilize it and interpret it is based on the person. Even teachers can make mistakes/are wrong. Take Google as a teacher, you ask the teacher for some stuff, the teacher has alot of info, and tries to sort it out and give you the 'correct' info, but it doesn't mean that the info is definitely 'correct'. This analogy is not completely accurate, but it has roughly the same meaning as zeka's 'reliable sources may not be reliable'. Nothing is this world is 100% credible.

The person who posted the article mentioned something about getting headaches when they read 'long-ish' essays. Just because they got used to reading shorter stuff doesn't mean that it made them 'stupid' right? and hell, I go Internet often, I google often, and I still like to read books and essays, and I don't get a headache. You can't focus, that's your problem for getting used to Google. Did the people who invented Google force you to use Google at gunpoint? You yourself get badly affected by the usage of Internet and you gather others like you to make a stand and claim that Google might make people stupid?

Quote
wiki's definition of stupidity: Stupidity (also called fatuity) is the property a person, action or belief instantiates by virtue of having or being indicative of low intelligence or poor learning abilities. Stupidity is distinct from irrationality because stupidity denotes an incapability or unwillingness to properly consider the relevant information.
Does Google make you incapable of interpreting the information that you find? I highly doubt so. Therefore, Google does not make people stupid at all. If you get used to the internet, and get headaches reading long-ish paragraphs because of that, who can you blame? Google for making everything short and sweet and making information easier to find? and, if you get too used to Google, then get used to it, there's nothing wrong. Getting used to something also does not equate to being stupid.


Debate over >_>. btw this post is sort of made while directing it to the author of the article.
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Reives

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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 08:10:24 PM »
Eh, why lock it? Always good to have grounds for discussion; be it directly on the hypothesis or anything related.

Arwym (آرویم)

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Re: "Is Google making us stupid?"
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2008, 11:26:04 PM »
I didn't read the article, but I can imagine what it's about by reading the first post.

It's just a matter of knowing where to look, whom to trust, and how much to trust.  Yes, books are not entirely reliable either.  But there's one reason why bibliographies and references are a must in any serious and professional text that's meant to educate others.  They are there to tell us about the sources of information utilized while studying the text's subject, and which helped the author to come to their own conclusion.  It's also back-up reference for your own personal research.  Now, when a text is purely based on an opinion, or one person's ideas, like is a work of fiction, references may not be necessary.

Now you understand how the Wikipedia works.  :3  It's all about proving that the information provided can be trusted to be legitimate.  That's also the reason why there's a scientific method.  It's all about proof, proving, exposing.  A single man's idea may mean nothing when by itself.  But joined by others' ideas, experiences and opinions, it may mean a great deal of things.

Sorry if I went a little off-topic.

...  And, I am tired.  It's 12:30 AM.  XD
« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 11:31:46 PM by Arwym Starlight »


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