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Google really to blame for making us stupid?

Alex Christie

17 June 2008

According to a recently published book by Professor Susan Greenfield, our modern use of computers and multi-media technology appears to be altering the way our brains work and possibly affecting the way we express ourselves through an inability to change through experience. Within the article published in today’s BBC news pages, Professor Greenfield argues that the information we can access at a click of a button is so different to how we would have learned from experience in previous generations, it may affect how we would ordinarily alter our personality and behaviour from these past experiences.

This hypothesis is brought about at the same time Nicholas Carr published his thoughts for Atlantic.com, on how he thinks technology is changing the way we think . He believes that once simple pleasures, such as reading a book, have become a challenge and that his ‘concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages’.

We all can probably relate to the point Carr is making, however in today’s Googlized world, information is available as and when we want it, in forms of videos, images and news articles. Even if we’re unsure of what we are looking for, the handy search engine will point out and correct our misspellings along with providing a host of handy related searches which will more often than not, clarify what exactly we were looking for in the first place. The point I am making is that I don’t personally see this as modern technology making us stupid, but merely bringing out the impatient streak in us all.

Referring back to Professor Greenfield’s position, I would argue that with the amount of time we spend surfing the net, we are now exposed to more information than we have ever been before, which in turn is allowing us to expand upon our opinions, beliefs and personalities. As the internet is expanding and embracing more user generated content, we are able to engage with others all over the world from very different cultures and take other’s opinions into consideration before forming our own, and not taking facts at face value.

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