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Is Google Making Us Less Human?

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

This article started almost as if I was writing it myself. I feel exactly the same way. I remember the days back in high school when I used to stay up till 4 AM, my eyes fighting to stay open while I poured over page after page of whatever book I was reading. I would sit in the back of class, ignoring everything my teacher said as I found out what happened to my favorite characters.

Nowadays if I’m bored I just get on my smartphone. I open Facebook, read through Twitter and spend hours sifting through Pinterest. It’s been years since I truly got enraptured in a book. I used to comb over the books in a library searching for the next bound treasure; now I use Google to read a mildly interesting news story.

The author of this article reflects on this phenomenon. He sums up the idea with this nugget of wisdom, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” Today it’s so easy to get information short and sweet and to the point, our fast-paced culture has no time to sit down and process a drawn out presentation of in depth information. It’s sad, really. It feels like we’re losing something. It feels, as movies like AI have eerily predicted, that the once profound functionings of the human intellect are being replaced with electronics. It raises the question; is the line blurred between what makes our lives easier and what makes our brains less capable? I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. In fact, I think they may be almost the same thing.

The small advances in technology, like Taylor’s factory productivity experiments, don’t alarm us in their seemingly harmless help. If taken as a whole, though, we can look at the rate at which technology has taken over our lives and, if wary, feel that alarm. What is to stop this advancement? When does technology replace intellect? Where do we draw the line? It’s a difficult and frightening question that our generation might have to face.

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