Has Google Made Us Stupid?

Posted: November 23, 2010 in Education, Malaysia, Media and communication, Society, WORK

Hmm, I’m sure that a lot of you are probably rolling your eyes to title I’ve put above. Some of you might be rather annoyed, some might be wondering what the hell has gotten into me.

Now, now hold on to your horses. The phrase mentioned above is not an original phrase by me rather it was related to me by a student in one my presentation skills class. For a persuasive assignment, one of my students actually did some research ( yes, not many do) on this topic, it completely intrigued me.

As most who know me will know I’m very into communication technologies and try to input as much technology I can in and out of my classrooms and life be it as a student or an educator.

Reading through Malaysiakini I stumbled upon and article on Facebook Messages <“Malaysiakini on Facebook Messages: Do not Use it Solely”>

of which Onn Yeoh was talking about how Facebook is basically trying to take over the world (ok, fine! He did not say those exact words!) but he kindda implied that this social media is trying to incorporate email, chat, sms all under one roof. Which is of course is rather impressive, but do you really want to have an email account with Facebook, the same place where you whine, shout, reveal personal stuff about yourself on a daily basis? I think not, but then again, that’s just me. I’d like to keep my life separate!  Anyways, that brought me to reading a short 3-liner  Onn Yeoh had written about the Internet and its ability of making us shallow that prompted me to look Nicholas Carr up.

Nicholar Carr is a tech writer who often writers about social,political and economical implication of technology and has published quite a number of books that need mentioning, namely;

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google,

Does IT Matter?,

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Actually all these books appeal to me on a higher level but I really wonder if I could find them at our bookstores. Hmm, anyway the titles of his books really gets my brain working on over-drive. Ever since, my student made his persuasive arguments on the matter, it really made me think. What is the Internet Doing to Our Brains?

If you have a chance, please read <a href=<“http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/”><is Google Making Us Stupid”> It is really one solid article that makes you really think.

Closer to home, what is the damned Internet doing to my students!??

As his article states,  <“Nicholas Carr”> it has really changed not just the way we read but think and do.  The following statement says;

“As we are drained of our “inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance,” Foreman concluded, we risk turning into “‘pancake people’—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.”

It’s true, its correct, its right…however or which ever words you use. Google…The Internet allows us to know more, find out more but as the statement above reflects, how much do we really know? When we read an article online, how much of it do we read? Do we really concentrate or skip to another within minutes as we lose interest and skim an jump to the next best thing…as the processes repeat itself we ended up having everything but nothing at all.

I see this with my students every day, heck I see it within me sometimes. Has the Internet, has Google made us stupid? We depend on it for everything . We not bother to spell anymore. Why bother,you can after all Google it! When I give some terms to my students to look up, their idea of studying or researching is Googling it and that’s how they come up with amazing answer for mass communciation terms that relate to Futton mattresses!

I think it is hard to make sense of data if you have no knowledge and that what I tell my students daily. Google enables these kids access to convenience…makes their lives easier…allows them to “NOT THINK” and brains rot. If you use Google wisely, now that is a different matter but how many of us actually do? We look for the shortest, simplest, easiest article to read if we do need to read it. We select and choose articles based on our political, social beliefs. There is no such things as reading everything and forming an opinion. We often form opinions out of dust these days. Is it that we do not know better? Heck, we do!

But it is just so easy to Google and let it do the thinking. Well don’t be surprised if the computers and networks take over.  To think that we are the most intelligent species on earth because of our ability to think yet we have made devices and continue to create devices that will do, just that for us. Are we the artificial intelligence? Oh, god….What is the world coming to? What are we coming to?


  1. Michael G. says:

    Google hasn’t made me stupid. I was blessed with that from birth.

  2. Michael G. says:

    I teach the fourth grade. I absolutely love it too which is very fortunate in this day and age.

    • cherwith says:

      Ahh. ..nice. True that. It is hard to find a job that you love doing.

      Where are you located? I assume your teaching in the U.S>?

      I teach at college level so kids are around 17-24 sometimes older. It is one of the most satisfying jobs in the world I ‘ll have to say!

  3. Michael G. says:

    I teach in Melbourne, Australia. I really wonderful place to live and work.

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