The topic of my blog post last week surrounded Google as I focused on James Gleick’s article “How Google Dominates Us.” This week, I’m returning to the land of search queries once again with Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
In short, the article tells us that yes, yes Google is making us stupid. I understand where they’re coming from, but I would like to say why Google is making us smarter.
In case it wasn’t clear, we can know anything we’ve ever wanted to know ever, at any moment in time. It’s like a world of knowledge is right at our fingertips. I don’t know where we would be in the world if Google wasn’t there to settle dinnertime debates or the common Scrabble conflict starting with the words, “Hey! You made that up! That isn’t a real word!”
Gone are the days when we ask, “I wonder…,” talk about it for a few minutes, and then let it pass. If no one present knew the answer for sure, it wasn’t a big deal. We didn’t feel like we had to know everything, or that everything had to be answered like, right now.
Nowadays if someone isn’t sure about something, anything, like what time the next showing of Wreck it Ralph is, or how tall Abraham Lincoln was, or what so-and-so wore on the red carpet last week, or a list of movies that cost 10,000 bucks to produce but made a killing, or what the lyrics to that song really are… yeah, Google has got you covered.
It’s so weird how much of an instinct is. I don’t give my friends time to wonder or think about something for two seconds before my phone is out and I’m researching the answer for them.
Sure, it’s convenient, and sure, it makes us smarter in some ways. But, as the article states, “We [have] come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.” The pressure isn’t on to genuinely learn or become an expert on a subject anymore because Google can answer all of those questions for you.