Monday, February 07, 2005

Is Google Making People Smarter?

(via TechDirt)
Ed Gottsman wonders if Google is becoming a mental prosthetic and making people (especially kids) smarter:
To the extent that intelligence consists of having a large memory, Google (and the other search engines) is certainly making people smarter. It's more than that, though: Some elementary school teachers (unscientific survey coming up) say that kids today are asking more questions than their predecessors--possibly because their parents use Google, so they hear fewer "Because!" responses and more actual answers, which encourages them to ask yet more questions. (I've noticed this kind of smart aleck behavior in my own kids.) So, Google may actually be nurturing a very different attitude toward life-long learning, and in so doing may be creating a fundamentally new kind of person--someone who's less patient, more inquisitive, less willing to take "No" for an answer and more certain of his or her facts.
This is an interesting perspective that deserves further consideration. My focus on the "values & ideologies" implicated by tools such as Google has focused mostly on issues of privacy, bias, and autonomy. Is raising one's level of inquisitiveness and demand for answers perhaps a more positive effect of Google?

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