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  • Is Google Making Us Stupid?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

    The link above is to an interesting article I found on Edge.org. To summarize, it cites how Google is somehow "chipping away" at our mental capacity for concentration and contemplation. There's such a HUGE flood of info. available at our fingertips that our minds are becoming more and more SHAPED by Google than anything else.

    I must admit, I've been searching for answers lately to my own apparent lapses in concentration and I have surmised in the past that the net may have something to do with it. Reading this article helps to explain some of what might be happening.

    Now, I do not agree that Google somehow chips away at contemplation... but, I will say that it chips away at QUIET contemplation. I find myself contemplating about such a great many things that my mind doesnt give each element its due representation. Where scientists of the past sit for decades contemplating minutia, Google and the net has sped up everything so significantly that many of our "natural" thought processes are done for us. We now find ourselves with a flood of info. for our minds to digest.

    I guess the question now is; is this good or is this bad? Because there's no turning back now... everyone in the entire world is now married to the system, and it will grow and change with us. I think of it like the tumorous psychic Siamese twin from Mars in "Total Recall." (I forget his name) Remember though, if that tumor is extracted the whole body dies.

    What many people dont realize is the Cyberpunk era is already upon us... growing slowly, sinisterly inside us through force of information that travels both ways. Most of this generation and those that follow are truly mechanized from the inside in this way. Kind of scary.

    Should we run with it or fight it?

  • #2
    Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

    I've often thought about that myself. I love the fact that so much information is so readily available, but it's also been like information overload sometimes. I wonder how much the internet has hurt analytical thinking. Very interesting topic, Gambit.
    "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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    • #3
      Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

      The funny thing is, you actually don't need any of this crap to operate and live a wonderful life in the real world. These networks of friends through the electronic medium is an artificial dependancy. iPhones, text-messaging, interconnectivity through sites like Facebook and Myspace, the web of Google products (just to use the most ready examples) can all be easily tossed to the side. Its not that tough to get around without a cellphone. It's kind of fun to be "old-fashioned".

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      • #4
        Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

        What makes this scarier is that in reality, Google and the net is a childlike A.I. Google doesnt just sit there and link info., it actually reads our minds (all of them) so-to-speak and works 24-7 to come up with the best way to parse and distro. that data. It's a net that thinks on its own, it's not just a tool we use.

        Here's another interesting story (fictitious), also from Edge:
        Engineers' Dreams

        It's not a coincidence that both these stories showed up on the same issue. Both are very interesting, but taken together are worrysome thinking. I'm a firm believer in unhindered technological progress; but when it comes to our creations intimately (and unknowingly) altering our brain-chemistries, it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation.

        Slapping on a cybernetic limb is one thing (I dont consider any humanity lost in that case), but my "being" (whatever that is) being altered beneath the scenes is way more serious. It's not something you make an appointment for, it's just something that happens. Powerful stuff.

        I'll make a confession; I do a lot of research into neuroscience and aggressive techniques for improving the mind through technology, but they're all voluntary, controlled, and SEEMINGLY harmless ideas. I've always been a proponent of maximum flow of information. Lately though, after doing a lot of reading I do get a bit overwhelmed at the ramifications of this stuff. I'm not one for govt. regulation, but I cant help but think it may be necessary within my lifetime.

        Piecemeal much of this stuff is relatively harmless, but when you start combining a lot of these techs you get a Frankenstein monster. And at the root of it is always Google-like interfaces and the Net. It starts as the "Ghost in the Machine" and ends up the "Machine in the Ghost."

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        • #5
          Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

          Could say that any technology makes us stupid then, technology just makes things either easier or makes things possible, making things easier requires us to do less of something, theirs still going to be specialists who know how everything works though,
          "A Veteran is someone who , at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to
          'The United states of America' for an amount of 'upto and including my life'. That is honor, and there are way to many people in this country who no longer understand it."-Author Unknown

          "I got kicked out of barnes and noble once for moving all the bibles into the fiction section" -Any.

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          • #6
            Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

            I don't know. I almost HATE having the surf the net for answers anymore. It seems like you put a search a in, for even remote out of the ordinary things, you get 9 million hits. Most of time most of the time 8,999,--- or so of those are complete garbage. Its too bad a lot of people look at the internet the same way they do news coverage, if it posted/broadcast, it has to be true.................



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            • #7
              Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

              Originally posted by machowner View Post
              I don't know. I almost HATE having the surf the net for answers anymore. It seems like you put a search a in, for even remote out of the ordinary things, you get 9 million hits. Most of time most of the time 8,999,--- or so of those are complete garbage. Its too bad a lot of people look at the internet the same way they do news coverage, if it posted/broadcast, it has to be true.................
              I've learned to live off the advanced search function of Google nowadays for the reason you just said. The vanilla searches just dont cut it for various things.

              Heck, I even use Google to search forum sites like TG (using a domain search), as many times it does it better. Some forums are doing away with "search" altogether in lieu of this.

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              • #8
                Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                Um, I don't think it's remotely correct to say that Google or the net are child-like AI. You've been reading too many science fiction stories.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                  For some good SF on the subject, read Vernor Vinge. While a computer science professor in San Diego, he wrote a paper on the Singularity:

                  http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/WER2.html

                  Since then he's written fiction illustrating how the Singularity might come about.
                  Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                  snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                  Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                    There's always this Google related oldie-but-goodie.

                    http://idorosen.com/mirrors/robinsloan.com/epic/
                    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                      I think google is making us smarter... or at least me smarter anyway... <insert joke here>

                      Well I suppose you need to define 'smarter' - I mean a volume of knowledge, not necessarily the ability to problem solve. Right now, if I can't figure something out or am curious about something, I can learn about it with so little effort.


                      Remember the alternative?




                      Bibliographies FTL. ;)

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                        I just think it's sad that most of the public libraries in communities near me are either closing or running in a much smaller capacity, such as only being open with volunteer librarians one day a week.
                        "I've been working since I was sixteen. I fought in two wars. Hell, I've killed people. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it..."
                        -- Red Forman

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                          I for one, am insulted, i would never try to make anyone stupider (joke)

                          But seriously, I find google to be a great source of information. I see it as a giant encyclopedia. If ever I come across something which I have no idea about, I can do some quick research using google.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                            video.google.com advanced search put duration at 20mins+ and you have a great chance of finding newly released and previously released movies.

                            Whiskey that picture looks vaguely familiar, i remember using that in elementary school and in high school, wait a second, i think i even used it in college, you open those drawers right that are in alphabetical order and they have the location of books right?

                            Wow using the internet completely shut off those memories......that was weird.
                            Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
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                            • #15
                              Re: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

                              Is it weird that by looking at that photo, I can actually smell the library?

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