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Sgt BOMBULOUS
03-01-12, 15:36
I'm not going to post the whole article (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/) as it's pretty long, but it's a fascinating read. It's also not just about google but about how the internet is changing the way that people think. What do you guys think? I know I don't have the same attention span I did 10 years ago...

Love2Raid
03-01-12, 15:45
I donīt think stupid, but just different. We are using knowledge in a different way now. I think we have less īstoredī in our brain than before, but we can find it more easily should we need it. So instead of knowing what the answer is, we know now where to find it fast. Which isnīt a really bad thing, if you ask me. Unless the internetz dies, that would be bad. :p

Liara
03-01-12, 15:49
I find it funny how the guy mentions that "I can’t read War and Peace anymore". Umm... That's a damn boring door stopper of a book to begin with, so it's hard to blame the net for that.

Anyway, my attention span has always been all over the place, so I can't judge by that, but one thing the net did manage to do is change my way of thinking when it comes to writing. My brain just expects a spell checker everywhere. Whenever I'm writing something on paper. I've stopped trying to learn how to properly spell neologisms just because I know that the computer will take care of it once I write down a few strings of letters. Which has bit me in the butt more than I can count during exams.

Reading-wise, the internet has actually made me read even more than I used to. I'm constantly finding out about new books via blogs and whatnot. A few months ago I caught wind of a Sci-Fi book that sounded interesting and managed to read the whole thing in one night. So in that department I have to thank Google.

I donīt think stupid, but just different. We are using knowledge in a different way now.
That's a nice point. We're constantly changing and evolving, so it's only natural that our brain be rewired as well. I think we'll manage to reach that level of stupidity only when they invent some virtual reality goggles which will reduce us all to puddles of goo. :D

Eddie Haskell
03-01-12, 16:08
This explains why on New Years Eve I crushed all of my university schooled nieces and nephews in every game of Trivial Pursuit. And I do mean crushed, as in totally annihilated... One of them even refused to play any more after the first game, I guess the embarrassment of a HS valedictorian (now a law school student) losing to a cranky old man was too much to take. :p

Of course I am well schooled and well read but all gained in a different era, and my age and experience gives me a certain advantage. However, even with all of this I am getting a bit lazy, and instead of relying on my memory and knowledge I fall into the "Google trap". I never used to doubt my perspicacity at all, and if Google was not around (and the internet in general) as a "fall back", I would probably still be quite confidant of my memory and intellectual acumen. But, it is...

So in essence I would agree with the title of this thread.

patriots88888
03-01-12, 16:26
I'll use it on occasion as a quick spell checker... it certainly comes in handy in that way. Speaking of which, I wish this forum had one.

tomekkobialka
03-01-12, 17:16
Google certainly does make us feel like we have all the information we could ever want a few clicks away. So why bother study at university in the first place? (that's not my opinion, just the 'general' question) That's what's making us 'stupid', I guess.

interstellardave
03-01-12, 17:22
I think the internet, and texting in particular, is having a negative effect on how the general populace uses words. Proper spelling is pretty much out the window as well.

I'd wager that I could beat 95% of current High School students in games of Scrabble. ;)

Scorpio1991
03-01-12, 17:31
Nope. IMO, It's less dull and a quicker way to learn new things and do research.
And is there any difference in the research you find in the books,
from the information ripped from the books and posted on the internet?
No, there isn't because it's the exact same information! :p

larafan25
03-01-12, 18:03
I really don't think so.

If anything, readily available information makes us smarter, does it not?

Well, smart as in knowing facts and dates, but perhaps it doesn't make us into the best of thinkers.

Diablo_Rosso
03-01-12, 18:17
I love Google. <3

xXhayleyroxXx
03-01-12, 18:21
I love Google. <3

This. Its useful when you live in a remote area with small libraries and not very many resources :pi: I'll always prefer books to the internet when it comes to research or finding out information because I'm a total bookworm and it has a verified publisher but at least on google there's so much information at your fingertips. I think it does somewhat make you think too because you have to work out what is legit xD

patriots88888
03-01-12, 18:26
I think it does somewhat make you think too because you have to work out what is legit xD

Not to mention what to search for... or I should say, how to do an effective search which will yeild the most favorable results.

xXhayleyroxXx
03-01-12, 18:27
Not to mention what to search for... or I should say, how to do an effective search which will yeild the most favorable results.

Yeah definately xD <3

Sgt BOMBULOUS
03-01-12, 18:31
The question isn't whether or not google is good, or useful, it's whether the instant gratification it grants us with regard to how we process information is changing the way we think, for the worse. I get a feeling not everyone gave the article itself much of a chance.

Eddie Haskell
03-01-12, 18:31
The question isn't whether or not google is good, or useful, it's whether the instant gratification it grants us with regard to how we process information is changing the way we think, for the worse. I get a feeling not everyone gave the article itself much of a chance.

Isn't it obvious? :)

Before the age of the internet and true instant information, we had to spend the time and make the effort to retain information in a manner that allowed for us to utilize it effectively and efficiently. Reading comprehension was very, very important (as it is today as well), and when you are getting this information in gigantic bites (from reading an entire book or skimming encyclopedias, etc) it was tough to do. In college I spent so much time cramming that I thought I was going to die. And I also thought that I would not retain this information, at least not to the extent that I remember much of it today. But now, the instant access to information means that we do not need to consciously store it, or so it would seem. I am sure that this varies from individual to individual, and that many with improved or exceptional memory retention store it just as they would if they knew that this information would not be easily accessed again.

CuteLilDragon
03-01-12, 18:32
If google is making us stupid, than in my opinion, almost every website is because google is linking to them in the first place! :p

Sgt BOMBULOUS
03-01-12, 18:33
Isn't it obvious? :)

Agreed.

patriots88888
03-01-12, 18:34
The question isn't whether or not google is good, or useful, it's whether the instant gratification it grants us with regard to how we process information is changing the way we think, for the worse. I get a feeling not everyone gave the article itself much of a chance.

Did you find that article through Google? :pi: :p

I admit I didn't read much of it, but I'm not convinced there isn't at least a tiny bit of bias involved from what I did read of it.

Sgt BOMBULOUS
03-01-12, 18:41
Did you find that article through Google? :pi: :p

I admit I didn't read much of it, but I'm not convinced there isn't at least a tiny bit of bias involved from what I did read of it.

I did find it through google, and if I'm not mistaken my search criteria may have been the title of the article, verbatim. Not to be arrogant, but I had drawn a similar conclusion on my own. Maybe it works differently with different people, but I've noticed a similar metamorphosis in myself. Books are a lot tougher to read now than they were 10 years ago. I find myself losing patience with a large article and just using Contol+F to find something rather than taking the time to read the whole thing. In a lot of cases I'm sure it wasn't necessary to read everything, and I was saving myself time. But that can't be true for all cases.

MiCkiZ88
03-01-12, 19:03
I guess it depends on the person. Lot are just lazy who want to find information as quick as possible and then be done with it. I personally now have evolved in to the opposite of me ten years ago. I love studying and reading articles (as ''long'' as they are interesting) :) And once I start googling for some information, I'm quickly reading everything related to it.

patriots88888
03-01-12, 19:16
I did find it through google, and if I'm not mistaken my search criteria may have been the title of the article, verbatim. Not to be immodest, but I had drawn a similar conclusion on my own. Maybe it works differently with different people, but I've noticed a similar metamorphosis in myself. Books are a lot tougher to read now than they were 10 years ago. I find myself losing patience with a large article and just using Contol+F to find something rather than taking the time to read the whole thing. In a lot of cases I'm sure it wasn't necessary to read everything, and I was saving myself time. But that can't be true for all cases.

I'll only say that if Google (or any other online search, articles, info. etc...) helps to encourage those who would otherwise not even dream of stepping foot into a library to learn and discover new things, then it can't be all that bad... not in my book (no pun intended) anyways. :)

Larapink
04-01-12, 01:31
Twitter is making the majority of people who use the service stupid. It's all in the name people should see it as clear as day it's called TWITter for a reason.

Encore
04-01-12, 02:15
I have heard of this issue before. How the internet supposedly makes people more stupid. But you know what? It's your own damn fault if you allow it to happen.

The internet simplifies access to information, so it's actually easier to be more knowledgable now. You can find articles and even entire books on just about anything over the internet.

On the other hand, just because the internet exists doesn't mean it forces you not to read a damn book. I know it hasn't stopped me from doing so, and I certainly read more dense stuff than I read 10 years ago, which can only be a good sign.

So basically, this is just people finding excuses for their ignorance / lazyness.

Eddie Haskell
04-01-12, 02:33
I don't think that it can make you "more stupid". But what I think that it definitely does do is allow you to consciously ignore what was one the very great necessity to store knowledge for future use. When such knowledge is always at your fingertips we no longer have to use our minds in an effort to remember and retain such knowledge.

A good analogy is telephone numbers. Not too long ago we would have to memorize a lot of telephone numbers in order to have them with us if we needed to call someone away from our home and our rolodex or personal telephone books. But after the electronic age kicked in with a vengeance we could carry with us on a gadget every number we would ever need.

Will this effect our brains? Will this harm us overall? Or will it simply cause us to evolve in time to allow our brains to use the "space" once required for such storage in a different way?

sierra xb
04-01-12, 03:03
If Google has done anyhting at all, it is save us gasoline and time by not having to drive down to the local library and search for HOURS for books and information that they might not even have available. Google is simply a tool...what the user does with it is up to them.

NCFirebolt21
04-01-12, 03:05
Google does not make a person stupid until and unless the person does something stupid with it.
The way I look at it, it's helped me out more than the uni library when doing research for my reports.

EmeraldFields
05-01-12, 06:43
I guess it depends on the person. Lot are just lazy who want to find information as quick as possible and then be done with it. I personally now have evolved in to the opposite of me ten years ago. I love studying and reading articles (as ''long'' as they are interesting) :) And once I start googling for some information, I'm quickly reading everything related to it.

Same here. When I come across an interesting topic I often find myself going from one article to the next reading more and more information about it.

Rachel Croft
05-01-12, 07:36
I don't think it's any different from looking up something in an encyclopedia. You retain information once you obtain it on your own, no matter how it's done.
It's kinda like the older generation criticizing the new generations styles: Our grandparents thought that rock music would influence our parents in an uncanny fashion, but it didn't. Google is not going to hurt us. Knowledge is knowledge.

tomekkobialka
05-01-12, 07:59
I don't think it's any different from looking up something in an encyclopedia. You retain information once you obtain it on your own, no matter how it's done.


But how can we know that the information we read on the internet is valid? All it takes is for one scumbag to change a value in Wikipedia and we will become stupid because we would be thinking that the diameter of the Earth is 12,856km when in fact it's 12,756km. So the knowledge you gain from the internet and what you gain from textbooks, encyclopedias etc. can be different.

sheepman23
05-01-12, 11:42
If I ever do Google something that I don't know, I like to try and make a mental note of what that certain word means, so that I can remember it for future use. Yes, I understand that it's way too easy to just Google something and then forget about it moments later, but I try not to fall into this trap (and yet, a lot of the time I still do).

I don't think Google is making us stupid, but I do think that it's causing us to take a lot of information for granted. If we actually had to use a book to look it up, then chances are that we'd try a lot harder to store that information.

Your_Envy*
05-01-12, 12:39
I have heard of this issue before. How the internet supposedly makes people more stupid. But you know what? It's your own damn fault if you allow it to happen.

The internet simplifies access to information, so it's actually easier to be more knowledgable now. You can find articles and even entire books on just about anything over the internet.

On the other hand, just because the internet exists doesn't mean it forces you not to read a damn book. I know it hasn't stopped me from doing so, and I certainly read more dense stuff than I read 10 years ago, which can only be a good sign.

So basically, this is just people finding excuses for their ignorance / lazyness.

I couldn't agree more, well said! :tmb: I read more stuff then I read 10 years ago and I always loved reading and books anyway. Google is great if you're not lazy or ignorant like you said. :)

Draco
05-01-12, 13:55
I only use google to learn new things.

sandygrimm
06-01-12, 14:22
NAx-6nHEWbE

Mytly
06-01-12, 20:50
A little late to the party, aren't we? ;) This article is from mid-2008. I remember the furore it made in the blogosphere back then. Nicholas Carr has since then expanded his thesis in a full-length book called The Shallows (Google it), though maybe people would be unable to concentrate long enough to read it. :p

I personally agree with some of his points while disagreeing with his conclusion. Also, I think he is conflating and confusing two different points. Is the vast amount of information available on the internet affecting the way we engage with fact-based knowledge? Yes, certainly. Is reading on electronic devices (whether connected to the internet or not) affecting the way we read books? Possibly, but I don't see any hard evidence for it.

Nausinous
06-01-12, 22:55
I read to about post 24# so its clearly not shortening my attention span and I can sit through two seasons of supernatural, I think I'm safe.