Week 6: Is Google Making Us Stupid? Group A

28 Aug

Carr’s Article that was the set reading for this week has raised a fascinating question: Are the technologies we have access to increasing or decreasing our mental and cognitive capacity?

Our group maintains that yes, Google and similar internet technologies lessen our cognitive ability as Carr states. Though his article begins with anecdotal evidence, he claims later that studies are being introduced to measure the effects of Google.

Our main points here are that:

  • Websites limit attention span.
  • Laziness in research is encouraged, as it is so much easier.
  • Google limits creativity, as an unscrupulous person might take text from one area and then reword it as their own.
  • Information we feed into search engines like Google has adverse effects such as targeting more advertising to us and making Google itself a powerful artificial intelligence (which Carr considers threatening).

While these points are based off of the reading, our group believes that Google is not making us stupid as such.

Are we becoming lazy?

Google and the internet as a whole is changing the way that we view and process information. With the internet at our fingertips there is limitless information on any topic we might be interested in. This is going to cause a shift in perception, as what might be considered “stupid” or “lazy” becomes simple and efficient.

Do you think the internet is as influential as the printing press when it comes to changing perceptions?

Nowadays, you only need to remember general information, not the specifics. Google allows us to brush over details in order to get the general jist of the information we’re looking for quickly, and effortlessly. The internet has become a universally backed form of media that supplies a streamlined substance of information, causing us to expect factual knowledge and valid academic research with the click of a button. The internet is chipping away at our mental capacity to concentrate and all the while, tweaking the way in which we absorb information. As Google and other forms of online media have become such a utility to humanity, we are quick to accept the control that it has over us and our over-reliance towards it. We know that we rely on it every day, but we don’t care.

A simple stat for us all:

Google receives 7.2 billion daily page views, via 620 million daily users, which means that on average, we all use Google up to 12 times a day.

I don’t think many of us would open a book that many times in a week.

So is it dumbing us down? Or is it just changing the way we learn?

Are we abusing Google?

As discussed in a previous lecture, it is known that around 70% of the sum of text within all books in the world is uploaded to Google everyday. But how much of this is actually useful information? How often do you make a search with Google and actually check to see if the info you’re being given actually holds some academic merit?

Google has shifted our method of research into one that is more or less, a take whatever you can get way of thinking. Too often are we content with just clicking on the first search result, seeing a bunch of long words and paragraphs, and then rewording it into our own work, causing a lack of creativity, critical thinking and originality. Google is forcing us into a society where opinion and creative thinking is more or less a by-product of the internet, and is an interpretation of what is spoonfed to us. Nothing is right or wrong anymore, everything is just an interpretation of something else.

As was also in a previous lecture, the video in which all music was portrayed in a way that makes it seem like it’s a copy of something else, the same framework can be applied to our new method of learning. Creativity has been thrown out the window, and we’re more than content with this notion. We’re more than happy to take someone else’s work, reword it and then claim it as our own.

Thanks for reading!

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