With the invention of the Internet and seeing it evolve into the entity it is today, there’s been lots of discussion on the Internet’s pros and cons. People have questioned whether the Internet, and particularly Google, is hindering our intellectual abilities as humans. After all, what do we do when we don’t know that answer to something? Admit it. We go straight to the Google search engine to answer it for us. Instead of trying to brainstorm, hypothesize and test our predictions to the answer ourselves, we take the easy way out by Googling. In fact, act the of “Googling” is actually a verb. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe I could live without Google. I frequent the site for homework help, research, entertainment (*cough, cough Netflix*), etc. It’s essential to the functioning of daily life for millions of people, not just me. However, I also believe that Google is preventing us from expanding our minds to the full extent that they can be expanded. For research projects, many of us opt to do a hasty Internet search for resources, skim the long sources (if even finish them), and call it a day. But it’s not necessarily that we don’t want to read the long sources, rather we don’t have the attention span or focus to finish them. These are just a few of the ideas explored in The Atlantic article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr.
There’s no doubt that the Internet is the main medium through which most of the information flows through our eyes and ears and into the brain today. To continue the discussion, are we replacing our own intelligence for artificial intelligence? And what exactly is artificial intelligence? It is defined as intelligence manifested by machines or software (i.e., the Internet). Researchers on this topic of the Internet and its effect on humans have found that the Internet is actually rewiring our brain. When we read on the Internet, we “read” (basically, scan) it very swiftly; this is similar to how the Internet works as a whole. You pull up your Internet browser, search for what you’re looking for, click on what you think is the best option, and start scrolling through it. You proceed to find another link which you believe may provide you with better details and once again, you skim it. You find another interesting link. And you repeat the process. We quickly skim through content on the web similarly to the speed of the Internet. Furthermore, traditional reading in a book, for example, takes time and effort; people, today, don’t want that. We are live busy lives so we want as much information as we can get in the quickest, most convenient way possible. With convergence of digital media, our iPhones and laptops are our main medium for this quick information, all thanks to the Internet. The Internet’s advantages and disadvantages are continuing to be explored but until then, we will continue to rely on the web (and Google) to make our lives that much easier. Now, go Google your heart out!