Is Google Making Us Stupid?

1048 Words Jan 9th, 2018 4 Pages
Three authors weigh in
One of the most common clichés is that the Internet has robbed us of our attention spans and impeded our ability to communicate effectively. Once we could write properly, now we only text. Google has made us lazy in terms of how we research and access data. However, is this true? In three major news publications, three major essayists have grappled with this question and come to completely different conclusions. Although the neurological evidence in support of the 'Internet is stealing our brains' thesis is mixed, there is at minimum evidence that people 'feel' as though the Internet has changed their ability to express themselves and to synthesize information.
The title of Carl Zimmer's essay "How Google is making is smarter" is self-explanatory. According to Zimmer, Google has improved rather than impeded the ability of people to effectively express themselves. Zimmer sees the Internet fundamentally as an extension of the mind, rather than something which impedes the natural ability of the mind to critically assess and process information. Does it really make us 'stupid' if we use MapQuest rather than remember directions; use spell check rather than remember spellings; or look up facts and figures with Google rather than a paper-based encyclopedia? Zimmer says 'no.'
Furthermore, long before the Internet, the human mind was notoriously faulty in terms of its ability to process information and to find salient data (he…

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