April 13, 2010

The Atlantic Project Presents: Is Google Making Us Stupid?


Ten: I'd have to Google that.

Responses below and more can be found on "the Atlantic. Project" blog.


Nine: No, Google is not making us stupid. In fact, there was an article in the USA Today newspaper on October 15th, 2008 that reported a scientific study showed that when people Google (who have Googled before, and know how to "do it"), more areas of their brain are activated (including areas that control decision-making) than are activated in the brains of people who are reading a book. So Googling can be a better way to "exercise" your brain than by just reading books.


Eight: Yes. Stupidity in the sense that you are unable to discern good quality information from poor quality information, and Google takes away our responsibility to choose. It instead chooses for you. If there was a program in life that could choose quality people out of a crowed and then you were able to just talk with them, wouldn't it take away your primary judgment that constitutes intelligence and wisdom?


Seven: My view is it doesn't make us stupid - it just makes us better informed. How we use that information is up to us. At the end of the day, Google is just a tool and as long as you treat it that way, you're good.


Six: My brain is beginning to behave like I do on Google: it's often reactive, not engaged. When I find something I think I might need, it lights up but drops back into neutral again very quickly regardless of whether the find is useful or not. And that bothers me.


Five: No but I want my Google-internet-access IMPLANT so it doesn't take so friggn long to get an answer to a query. (I just Googled about it, but it's still pre-alpha).


Four: It isn't making us any smarter with the delusion that we all hold now that it seems to have the answers. What would happen if it simply decided to lie and stop being this big benevolent creature that everyone thinks it is? What if it has already done that?


Three: More information can never make you stupid.


Two: It definitely provides more sources of information for people living in those parts of the world where libraries, books, periodicals are treated rather as a luxury spend. And believe me, that is a significant portion of this world. In these places, if a comp and a good broadband connection brings you at par with people around the world to do your research, and become an expert on just about anything - it is really a boon. As many people responding to this post, my work also involves doing a lot of desktop research and the information you can get on some stuff is just awesome.


One: Becoming stupid is an individualistic response to Google. You treat it as God - well, it's your view. You treat is as just another tool for research, again, it is your view. But to Google's credit - I know a lot, lot more about the world around me - I am able to read articles, feature, research pieces, access magazines and weeklies which in pre comp, pre -internet days, I would never have imagined existed.


Zero: No, schools are.




For a thoroughly different take on the question raised here, check out Joe Marchese's "Is Google Making Marketers Stupid?" which was published earlier this year on Mediapost. It focuses on "multiple attribution protocol," which is a fight that Microsoft is waging against Google, primarily about what online destination should get credit for the last click before a viewer buys or responses to something. Mr. Marchese does an excellent job illuminating the subject. - The Editors

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