There is no question that the invention of the internet and the wide use of Google searches has forever altered our mindset as people. The way in which we gather and process information will never be as it was before. To that there is no debate. While Mr Carr, the author of the article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” clearly takes one side of this issue, I do not believe that it is as clear cut as that. While I agree that the use of condensed information by a majority of websites, cliff notes of the worlds knowledge if you will, there are positives that come from this structure of organization. The hasty nature of learning, reading and understanding the world around us is not entirely a recipe for stupidity and ignorance as the author implies. We have simply changed along with what technology has brought to bare. Throughout history people have questioned the latest technology. When that technology has the power to influence and alter the way people had lived before its especially troubling to some.
During the time of the great philosophers, Aristotle would complain that having the ability to write down ones thoughts would ultimately lead to a loss of remembering knowledge. As we can see from history, I don’t believe people are sitting around wishing we had never had the capacity to write the spoken word. Its true that performing searches on Google does not usually delve as deep into a subject as reading a book on that topic would. It’s also true that one generally does not understand the nuances of a complicated subject from just a surface reading either. However, before we wholeheartedly agree that Google is as negative a development as Mr. Carr expressed, lets take a closer look.
There are a number of positive aspects that Google does provide to the inquisitive and technological savvy mind. Beginning with the ability to locate a wide ranging scale of information quickly is simply a huge plus in and of itself. The fact that it has the power to alter our minds development is absolutely key. It could be argued that by researching with Google it has actually lead to a more knowledgeable overall public.
How could this be? Let’s focus on the main complaint that Mr. Carr sited, the lose of his true concentration, and look at it from a different angle. Perhaps the future of gathering information about the world will be brought to us in smaller bits, ones that are easier to consume by the laymen. Even the dreaded “hyper-links” that Carr spoke of are vital to the flow of the new Google structure of understanding. When your mind moves from one piece of information to another related piece, that is research in a sense of the term. By being able to gather pieces of knowledge, and then placing them in a way that follows true to facts only sharpens our reasoning and deductive reasoning skills alike. However, when there is no substitute for an in-depth discussion about a topic, there is the research tool “Google Scholar”. It allows for Google’s quick retrieval of information as well as detailed knowledge that is peer reviewed in addition.
These are only a couple of the attributes that we all needs as students of life. If there is one lesson to this weeks blog posting it would be to not fear new technology. What can first appear to impede in our way of understanding is often misguided and reflected more accurately through the prism of history.