Response to "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (Jing Wang)

Before answering this question, we need to define "stupid." As technology keeps developing over centuries, people's way of thinking keeps changing to catch up the steps of technology in order to maximize production. Since technology has made our tools easier and easier to use we can say that people don't need to be as smart as they used to be to produce the same amount of production. However, people are not made stupid based on the way they are using technology. In fact, people are able to save energy to spend on other areas which requires critical human intelligence only.

This article talks a lot about effects the internet has brought to readers and writers. There are many examples in the article explaining how internet has caused them hard to concentrate while reading and writing. I think the reason they can't focus on their paper is simply because there are many other options and much more information for them to choose. Concentrated reading or writing don't necessarily mean efficient anymore under today's technology. Internet with help from search engines, such as google, has made accessing information never easier. Readers and writers now have much better opportunities to see, hear and think from all perspectives before moving on.

“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Carr, Nicholas. (John S. Rampersaud)
Carr asks the question “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” In his article he tells us that he is having trouble reading and staying concentrated on the work in front of him. Carr explains his addictions to the internet, to his readers, making it evident that he has the same problem that most of the internet users have when trying to complete work. The internet has a vast amount of internet that can provide the user with bounds of true information as well as a lot of garbage that people like to put out on the internet.
Carr states that Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google want to make an AI engine that will link up to the human brain. Humans only use 7-10% of their brain, so for him to over react and think that the AI will overcome human intelligence is funny to me. The mind never loses information it is always stores the information deep within the mind waiting for the person to recollect the information for use again but it is not as simple as that. Normal people forget or suppress the information for whatever the reason. When humans find away for us to reconnect with our psyche so that we can be able to use that information again, that will be a day to worry. For Carr’s dilemma, he just needs to man up and not go on the internet if he has work that needs to be done and worry that Brin and Page will uses our brains as links to the internet. When it comes down to it the world is always changing, making bigger and stronger advancements making it easier for people to research information and advance their knowledge. Google is not making us stupid, it is making us smarter.


Is Google making us stupid? response (Clifford Chamberlin)
For most of the section, although I didn't completely agree with everything the author was saying, I could definitely see where they were coming from. Personally I don't like reading stupid one paragraph snippet articles at all, and I don't jump from email to web searching to video chat to blah blah blah. I usually get online with a purpose in mind or I don't get on at all. In my opinion, reading snippets FTW (information wise) can easily lead a person down the wrong path by not giving the whole story. The consequences include things such as ridiculous rumors, abuse of information, and worst of all, widespread misconception, the one thing that books and information spreading mediums are meant to prevent. I think that people are far too mystified(for lack of a better word) by the ease of finding information on the internet and in many cases rely too heavily on the information they find on the web. However, I've also been noticing that at least in the intellectual community the sources of information on the web are beginning to be questioned greatly. It's only natural seeing as how Google comes up with how many hundreds of thousands or millions of "results" for every search you do. I think that soon people will begin to want to know for sure that their information is reliable, in turn causing the sources to provide more full stories and articles. These days it's all about giving people what they want quickly because that's how you gain advertising revenue and that's the name of the game right now for most web sites.

The other thing that caught my attention was the comment about Socrates fearing that books would lead to people becoming dumber the same way that the author is asking if Google is making us stupid. If you think about everyone in the world as a neuron in a brain sending signals to each other, then the days before books are like humanity was still a baby, things are easily forgotten or remembered incorrectly and single thoughts can have great influences. Books come out and more neural pathways in the brain are being developed and used as if the brain is developing and humanity is more like a child or teenager in that things are retained more often yet not always fully understood. Then comes the printing presses which is analogous to the brain finally realizing how to think efficiently and using as many pathways as possible which is represented by literacy and intelligence in individuals. The same as with a brain, the better people have been able to communicate the better off the world has always been. The only problem with the internet and things like the Google issue is that it may be leading to more "neurological 'misfires' " than is good for us.

Alex Morrow
Is Google making us stupid? I'm not sure that google has so much "made us stupid" but has made us even more technologically dependent beings; which has spurred in this age of "convenience". But it's hard to blame Google; for they are only the new cog in the machine, the latest piece of the "convenience" puzzle. Frederick Winslow Taylor's ideology of the "one best method" illustrates how we, human beings, are almost programmed to find a way to do something with more ease, more efficiency, quicker, safer, and more rewardingly. It is our nature. And since the industrial revolution we have constantly been finding ways to do so; steam engines, automobiles, automatic rifles, the nuke... (yes, sadly we even look for more efficient ways to kill each other), the radio, then the television, McDonalds, 4-wheel drive (in the case of this past week :O), the computer...the laptop...the internet! GOOGLE!
In the case of Google, I believe it has significantly stunted our ability to
retain information, but at the same time has vastly increased our perpetual knowledge. This online world that Google has brought to our fingertips is quite fascinating and exciting - only in an online world could Americans find out current events in Japan, or look for apartments in Australia, or even job search for opportunities in Europe. It is an age where, although wisdom may not play a large role, knowledge is everywhere, it is readily available, but most importantly - convenient. Within a minute or two most 'search-engine savvy' people will have an answer to any question that they desire, any piece of information that the world wants them to see. And this, in my opinion, is something to be embraced.
My only problem with this ever-expanding trend is that it is very influential to users - it sucks them in to a vicious cycle of "easy answers" - it is like what the calculator did to long division. I have very little memory of how to do long division problems anymore because I don't NEED that knowledge in my every-day life. I can divide on my phone, on any computer I'm at, or using my traditional calculator. I barely remember anything from history classes....or science classes....but why would I? Unless I truly, truly care about the subject, remembering for it is only as important to me as getting the A in the class - and I will most-likely only carry it that far. Why do you think schools assign summer reading assignments?! To keep the brain functioning. And this, is where Socrates view of written material plays true in that we would "cease to exercise our memory and become forgetful"
John Welkner brings up a good point with his "Final Fantasy" example. He only retained the knowledge for as long as it was good to him. Once it wasn't needed, it was discarded and needed to be re-learnt.
The use or convenience of the computer is the modern "one best method" of using, accessing, storing or organizing information - it essentially is our form of knowledge. Humans today rely so much on this process of attaining information that it is a very scary thought. What if our access to this knowledge was....
denied?! We'd be in utter panic and chaos because all of our perpetual knowledge, our readily available facts and stats, our daily communication, our methodical research techniques, and so on and so forth simply become "artificial intelligence" as the author states in his concluding sentence.


“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Carr, Nicholas. (James Gedling)
Carr brings up the the question "Is Google Making us Stupid?" The article goes on about how Carr is noticing he is having increasing difficulty immersing himself in long pieces of narrative. He used to be able to read long articles and books without pause, and now has difficulty reading more than a few pages without feeling the urge to turn his attention to something else. When he discusses the problem with friends, they acknowledge that they seem to have the problems as well.

He views that the industrial growth of constantly attempting to improve efficiency is being reflected in how people think. With the internet at our disposal, the readers attempt to assimilate the most knowledge on the topic with the minimal amount of effort. They draw conclusions from a number of short, easy to read sources rather than dive into a long traverse through a lengthy source, and arguably the knowledge and wisdom gained is cheapened because of it. His fears seem to reflect the views of The Adeptus Mechanicus of Warhammer, a cult worshipping the idea of the perfect machine in the fictional universe of Warhammer 40k. As the availability and ease of acquiring information grows, it becomes less important as to what we draw from the information, and more important as to how efficiently it is assimilated; leaving us shallow and machinelike rather than intellectuals. But I think this view is unfounded. Concentrated writing does not necessarily equate to greater efficiency. And ease of information will not diminish the importance of the views and conclusions drawn from it. I believe the author has a more difficult time reading solely from one source of information now because he is used to working in a different environment. His mind’s comfort zone has shifted from sitting alone in libraries and dormitories of his collage youth to many sources of information brought on by the internet. He is distracted because he is going from a place is accustomed to a different method of information gathering, but just because it is different doesn’t necessarily mean that it is worse.


Clifford Chamberlin:

The following is part afterthought from my response and part response to the other discussions post by my classmates:

One of the most common statements/observations used to address the search engine issue is that people can and do use search engines to find instant information and that they do so without effort. The main difference between the two sides of the argument is the way that this effects people overall. The "Google is making us dumber" crowd will point out that a lot of the information that is Google'd is just forgotten anyway or since found information can be found again any time people don't actually learn/remember potentially important things that a well rounded person should know all the time. This implies that people are already leaning on the internet and its search engines for support and we're putting more and more weight on the crutch every day. The "Google is not making us dumber(maybe even smarter)" crowd will point out that the internet is like your sub-conscious and search engines allow you to pull any information from your subconscious at almost any time which is literally difficult. This implies that as long as something is on the internet there is no need to learn it, yet the benefit of having such a resource is invaluable in that one can learn/remember specific information when they have time for it or really need it.

What if all of the information that is within or is looked up on the internet is not just an aforementioned "sub-conscious" and people remember more of the important, and even some of the random, information that they see online than we assume? Considering this, is the relationship between the internet and a person or people psychologically symbiotic? If so, I think that the relationship is also similar to osmosis in that the infinite container that is the internet will always be larger than any one biological mind and the volume of the information within the internet will always be greater than within the mind therefore will always either fill the mind or apply endless pressure to a mind that is already relatively "full". In the end, mankind will always be playing catch up with the internet. The last question I'll pose is: How does the way that people use the internet, especially search engines -- in other words "play catch-up" -- dictate who they are? and will this change? The only real problem left is how we handle ourselves with the internet.