Are the people of the future dumb?

It seems like the critics  have been criticizing technology ever since it began to advance and improve our way of life. Every time something seems to get a little bit easier for us the people who are “old school” come out and say that the new technology we are using is making us stupid. But that simply is not the case. In the NPR article that we are required to read this week there was a study done at Columbia University claims that Google is in fact changing the way we use our minds and is in a sense making the human race dumber.

When I first read the study it actually made a lot of sense to me and I was pretty convinced,  but then when I read the NPR article in rebuttal of it, I changed my mind and sided with the author of the (NPR) article. There is a line in the article that says, “It’s a down-home illustration of the fact that we naturally tend to offload our memory tasks onto the world around us” which I believe is true. When we read a book we don’t sit and memorize the page and word we left off on, we simply fold the page or leave a bookmark so that we wont have to reach into our memory circuits to retrieve the information (this was an example used in the article, but it is a great one).

If we think about the internet and fast paced advancement of technology hasn’t made anyone dumb, it only has expanded our minds and made us more aware and knowledgeable of the world and every aspect of it. With the click of button we read up on the latest developmental procedures being used around the world in medicine and business. If a tragic event happens on the other side of the world we instantly know. People post their problems online and we begin to think of ways to solve it.

A perk (or disadvantage) of having everything so available to is that now we are able to monitor multiple things happening all at once. Multitasking has become the norm, but does our enhanced ability to multitask detach us even more from the world around us?

I guess what the issue I was trying to address here was:

Can technology change the way we think and act?

&

Is multitasking a temptation that is dangerous?

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Are the people of the future dumb?

  1. I believe technology definitely changes the way we think. I don’t think we are getting dumber, rather we are lazy in the sense that we know we can look things up at any given time. Basically, retaining information can become an issue, but for the most part we expand our knowledge each time we read something online. As for multitasking, I’d say that is definitely dangerous. One’s brain can only handle so much input at one time. I think it’s very hard to retain information when trying to do more than one thing at a time. There is too much hopping back and forth. The focus is gone and it is very hard to get a good job done that way. I do think it works for some people, but in my opinion, one can get things done better if they focus on solely one thing.

  2. Any college student knows how distracting the internet can be, especially with a looming paper or project due. Multi-tasking has definitely become the norm, and it has definitely made us less productive in that sense! I know I’ll have at least 4 or 5 tabs open at any given time and it can be quite distracting.

    At the same time though, that multi-tasking can enhance the way we see the world. If you’re getting information from a wide variety of sources at once, you’re more likely getting the full picture. It’s just that I think people skim things rather than reading each source fully.

  3. Well to first off reply, very nice blog post!

    Yes, I believe technology can change the way we act. Only because it has such a powerful influence on the way we think. For example, going online on the internet everyday and playing games can reflect upon your education the amount of information you learn and retain. I think that it is a powerful message for the youth especially to not let it influence them as much as it does.

    Multitasking can be dangerous. The perfect example is those people who text and drive. They injure or even kill other people just because they were not paying attention to the road but instead their phones. This is something that technology needs to be aware of, and work with new phones and devices to help prevent such horrible accidents from occurring.

  4. Technology has changed the way people think and act. That isn’t even a question. So many people have become detached from the world because of technology. Most people are so into their social networking sites and surfing the internet, that they forget how to act and converse with people in the real world. Technology has turned people away from the ability to communicate face to face and interact with humans. Technology has made humans dumb. It also has changed the way people think, because we are influenced through multiple different ways with technology. Our thoughts don’t come from nowhere. The more we are exposed too, the more we think and change our thoughts constantly. I wouldn’t say it is dangerous, but it isn’t a good thing either. It is true that when you focus on one thing, you do it better. However, in this crazy fast moving world we live in, there is no way to not multitask. We would all have triple the work to do if we didn’t.

  5. Depending on the person I do think that technology can change the way we think and act. Some people are more influenced by the things they read and see on the internet, whereas it doesn’t really phase others. In our world today, technology is something that has evolved and most people can’t go a day without using something electronic. Compared to 20 years ago, now people can do pretty much anything they want online. Multitasking is a temptation that is dangerous in today’s world. Multitasking can be very distracting, and it can get you into trouble if you aren’t paying attention. I also think that when you are multitasking you aren’t getting the best results that you can because your brain is focused on doing more than one thing. The most common and most dangerous example of multitasking is texting and driving, it has no benefits whatsoever. Some people find it necessary to multitask, but I think there are ways that it can be avoided.

  6. I agree with baraek321 when he says technology is making us more lazy instead of dumb. Technology over time has tremendously developed and has taken place of what humans can do themselves. For example, Ford created a car that can park itself. (http://www.technologyreview.com/view/411563/fords-new-car-parks-itself/) Yes, this can be good for people who do not know how to drive (otherwise they shouldn’t be on the road anyway), but I just think this just erases all the basic skills people learned about how to drive.
    Another example is cell phones. With the new technology equipped in cell phones I think people can become detached from the real world. I believe multitasking can lead you to become distracted because you’re trying to do so much at once. Technology such as cell phones and multitasking can be dangerous like texting and driving, like taraberry18 stated, and even walking and texting which could lead you falling down a sewer! (see this story http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,531684,00.html)

  7. Technology changes the way we think. One example that comes to mind about how technology changes the way we think is through the use of navigation systems. Think about the change form paper maps to electronic maps. When people use maps on paper they have to do all the thinking and directions on their own, using their brain to figure out how to get somewhere. Now, with navigation electronic systems, they tell us how to get places turn by turn. There is no thinking, just listening (and watching). In this case we can say technology thinks for us.
    Technology also changes the way we act. Communicating with texts and instant messages has changed the way people act. People feel less comfortable and have lost communication skills because of this.

  8. I think technology changed the way we think in terms of we have more information readily available to us as opposed to 15 or 20 years ago. Now we have Youtube videos and internet forums to give us opinions about important topics or people, but back when technology was still growing people had to watch TV, read books, or listen to the radio to get valuable information. I think with today’s technology, people’s opinions can change more rapidly because information is spread at such a rapid pace as opposed to 10 years ago. I really don’t think technology has much to do about the way we act.

    Like you said, multitasking has become the norm and plenty of people do it without realizing it. Although some people may be hindered while multitasking, I think a majority of people do it with little to no problems.

  9. After reading both sides of the argument I still don’t think Google is making us stupid but I can see why people are being critical of the way it has made us think. I think technology does have the power to change the way we think and act. In the “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” article the last paragraph really puts it all in perspective: the most disturbing notion in 2001 was that the machine had more humanity than the humans in the film. The humans weren’t necessarily becoming less intelligent but they were giving up part of what it means to be human. I don’t agree with the author’s comment that using computers to understand the world flattens our intelligence. I tend to define intelligence as the capacity to learn and I think the internet only serves to augment that. Coming from a person who has never been an avid reader I can’t say that I share the same feelings as the author does about deep reading either. On the other hand the fact that it allows us to get information very quickly means we have the ability to multitask. I have always been a person who tries to kill two birds with one stone so multitasking is something that I attempt to do on a regular basis. Our brains really aren’t meant to do more than one thing at a time but with the help of computers it allows us to download music while typing a paper. The temptation can be dangerous like trying to text and drive at the same time. It can definitely detach us from what is going on around us but so can anything else that demands any sort of attention.

  10. technology changes the way we think daily. Even right now we are communicating over the internet express ideas and findings which are probably changing how some people think about things. I personally had a recent experience where i was buying a car and needed my recent pay stubs. My employer does not use paper stubs, they are electronic, My printer did not work, and i couldn’t pull up the page at the dealership. So i used my phone, took a screenshot of the pay stub and emailed it to the dealership. However multitasking i feel is hurting the population. Yeah we can get do more at once, but each is usually done in the same amount of time but done to a lower standard. Everyone does it, but that doesnt make it a good thing.

  11. Technology can definitely change the way you think. The way we all process information so quickly in this day and age has shifted drastically within the past 20-30 years, Any possible fact is available to you at any point with internet access. While that provides you an opportunity to gain more knowledge it also can relax your brain to the point where a person does not feel the need to actually commit and fully comprehend what they have learned into their thought process. And overall, it can change the way we act because it diverts our attention in so many different directions. We all have been effected by the growth of technology. The only way not to be is to disconnect from the system completely and not use technology, but that would put an individual at a complete disadvantage.

    Multitasking can cause as many problems as it can cause benefits. it can take away from natural human interaction, but it can also allow for the brain to be stimulated many ways at once, giving a person the ability to accomplish more in their day. I do not think of multitasking as dangerous, but it can be a distraction that can limit human interaction if not limited.

  12. Technology is absolutely able to change the way we think and act! It has done so throughout history, and it is doing so today. The internet and computer combined have changed societies and cultures worldwide. Everyone really does have the chance to live a global and interconnected life these days if they so choose. Living this way has changed the way humans interact with people they know, or may have never met in person. Generations of today including the millennial’s and more have an infinite amount of information accessible to them constantly. This affects how they seek knowledge and learn, as detailed by this article. Technology is absolutely able to change the way we think and act! It has done so throughout history, and it is doing so today. The internet and computer combined have changed societies and cultures worldwide. Everyone really does have the chance to live a global and interconnected life these days if they so choose. Living this way has changed the way humans interact with people they know, or may have never met in person. Generations of today including the millennial’s and more have an infinite amount of information accessible to them constantly. This affects how they seek knowledge and learn, as detailed by this article.
    Multitasking can absolutely be dangerous. Texting and driving is a prime example of such a thing. Not only can it be dangerous physically though, but it can be dangerous psychologically and socially. Today I see more and more people my age sitting in groups engrossed in their phones rather than engaging in conversation with others. I would say this is one of the downsides of our technological boom because there’s really no way being antisocial helps anyone. Here’s a great article on the topic. As a whole, multitasking and always being linked to the World Wide Web has some definite benefits. Like any good thing though, there are drawbacks and specific incidents which harm overall public opinion.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2011/07/15/google-on-the-brain-how-the-internet-has-changed-what-we-remember/

    Multitasking can absolutely be dangerous. Texting and driving is a prime example of such a thing. Not only can it be dangerous physically though, but it can be dangerous psychologically and socially. Today I see more and more people my age sitting in groups engrossed in their phones rather than engaging in conversation with others. I would say this is one of the downsides of our technological boom because there’s really no way being antisocial helps anyone. Here’s a great article on the topic.

    http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2007/10/how-cell-phones-are-killing-face-to-face-interactions295

    As a whole, multitasking and always being linked to the World Wide Web has some definite benefits. Like any good thing though, there are drawbacks and specific incidents which harm overall public opinion.

  13. Whether or not multitasking is a danger really depends on what you’re doing while multitasking. There have been many studies about the dangers of texting while driving. The many public service announcements that are on television depict the last text someone has either read or sent before they were involved in an accident, usually resulting in death. It’s heart breaking to see a family holding up a photo of their son or daughter who was involved in an accident that resulted from driving while texting. In addition, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want my heart doctor, while performing open-heart surgery, to check his smart phone.

    However on the flip side, multitasking while washing the dishes, doing the laundry or checking your email, more than likely, shouldn’t result in any danger (unless you forget to shut the lid on the washing machine).

  14. I have to say, I think technology has changed the way we think, and it’s not good. You have the great example of folding the corner of a page in a book to remember our spot. Of course people are going to do that, not out of laziness of not wanting to remember the page number, but just in case it slips our mind during the day while we have a plethora of things going on. It’s just a safe remind so we don’t have to worry about it when we come back to it later.
    However, with other things, it’s getting slightly out of hand in my opinion. Because we have a plethora of information at our finger tips nowadays, we no longer feel the need to do things in advance or memorize little things. For example, why memorize how many pounds make up a ton, when you can just Google it later or whenever you need to know? Why memorize a friends address when you can just save GPS directions to it? My point is that the world is getting lazy with their brain because of technology. We don’t exert extra effort to the things that are constantly in front of us. We rely on technology to always be there for us, so we don’t bother to memorize those small things anymore.
    You can definitely call me old fashioned at my ripe old age of twenty, but that’s what I believe. Have you ever watched a person freak out when their phone dies and they can’t see what time a movie is playing or where their friends are going to be in five minutes? They go into a panic mode when they know they no longer can rely on that piece of technology that they let their life revolve around. They panic at the first thought of having to stand in a public setting without having their phone to break the awkwardness. People are allowing their brains to take a vacation from memorization and with that, our brains get into the habit of only having one or two things to memorize rather than a whole bunch. We lose our attention span, focus and patience, which in my opinion is a horrible thing to lose.

  15. Yes technology changes the way we think. One way it does this is our patience has become shorter, if not nonexistent. We expect the unlinked world to respond and react as fast as the web. We expect everything to be in stock in stores as if were shopping online. The way we interact on social networks is different then we do in person. Some people find balls when online as if they think the internet gives them super powers. Another way technology has changed the way we think is in the way people speak and spell. While text talk is okay for texting and maybe social networking people have forgotten how to speak and spell. I feel this is because of the limits of words on social networks and the fasted paced world the internet has created. Also as far as multitasking its only dangerous if your driving and checking email, texting or trying to play a game. Multitasking is a good skill to have and needed to get things done and if the internet can help people learn to do thats great, because so many people lack that skill. Me personally I cook, braid hair, play Words with Friends, do homework and still entertain company.

  16. The internet is a great tool to use; it can help us in finding directions to an Italian restaurant, in following instructions on how to restore a car, etc…

    As you posted in your blog about technology in the old days, people from those days didn’t have access to the same level of technology and as a result, viewed it as something negative, similar to what was thought of Rock-and-Roll when it first started. Today, both are accepted (with some criticism) and viewed by society as fine.

    The question of whether or not the use of technology can become an addiction depends upon who uses it, how often he or she uses it and why. If a person experiences discomfort when unplugging from the world of technology, then that person has to examine why he or she feels discomfort, and what may be the deeper issue behind the uncomfortable symptoms.

    Referring to the question about technology changing the way we think, act or believe, it depends upon the person and the culture in which he or she was raised, and the amount of access to technology he or she had or has. For example, some cultures limit the use of and access to technology for use only in the world of education, it is not viewed as a must have for the home. If people only communicate through social media outlets, they may experience more shyness in public and an inability to socialize or communicate in-person because they are not practicing those social skills which require physical interaction.

    Multitasking is very danger especially while you’re driving(.http://mashable.com/2012/08/13/multitasking-infographic/ ). Saying that you can multitask also assumes that you are being efficient at completing the tasks; most of the time that doesn’t happen, your concentration is split

  17. Technology can, always has, and always will affect the way we think and behave. Technology has made our lives easier throughout the years, I believe the main goal for tech is to increase a single person’s (or multiple people’s) efficiency. As new information technology has come out it has changed the way that we think, write, and communicate as a whole. Before the printing press the idea of cheap and abundant books was a dream. Each book had to be hand written or transcribed by a scribe, this made books incredibly time consuming to make and thus, rare and expensive. Also because of the time consuming nature of the writing process books or pieces of writing tended to be short and concise much like the average communication today. (Although we tend to trim out more than they did, we have lost the art of speech craft for the most part.) When the Printing Press was invented, suddenly long and elaborate works were cheap and easy to make, the standard shifted to embrace this new style. Today we are back to shortening our writing style, but we are also shortening the way that we think as well.
    The human race has always been on a quest for efficiency and today’s system of learning, reading, and writing is the next step in that journey. By shortening how we communicate and think we can learn, teach, and access the abundance of knowledge that we can gather in today’s digital world faster. I like to think of my mind as a shotgun. When something triggers a thought I like to think about several short ideas around that thought. Then choose the idea that I feel will lead me down the path to the answer that I need. Now sometimes this backfires and I end up on a massive tangent and forget what exactly I was supposed to be thinking of first, but it allows me to draw connections to things that I think someone who thinks in a more linear fashion may miss. This is kind of like a search engine for my brain, like Google it goes out and finds any information that is relevant to the search term, or subject of thought in my brain. I am then able to choose what information is best suited for my purpose. My train of thought has evolved to what it is today because of my constant use of the internet since my formative years.
    Multitasking is a good thing. As I write this I have six tabs open on Firefox. I am listening to music, reading articles about this subject, chatting to friends, and of course writing down what I think of this whole experience in this blog. Multitasking is only dangerous if you allow yourself to spread out to thin. You have to know what task is your primary focus and be sure that it is getting the most attention, while the others are on the back burners. The risk you take is shifting the important thing to the back burner while something you find more entertaining takes the front and destroys your productivity. Multitasking also helps keep me from burning out to quickly, I can work on something for much longer if I take a few seconds here and their to pay attention to something else more entertaining.

  18. Coming from the worst multi tasker in the world (literally. Music is on while I type this, and I can barely focus) I do believe the temptation is dangerous. It makes us give ten percent of attention to the things we should be giving 100.

    I do think the internet and technology is changing the way some people think.

    People of today are so quick to spout information that they are sure are “facts” and whoever is listening is eager to believe them. The problem I’ve discovered is pressing the source of these “facts” half the time, it’s from Tumblr or Cracked.com — sites as reliable as getting your celebrity info from the Sasquatch-spotting gossip magazines. It has gotten so out of hand that you basically can’t trust anything from any site that doesn’t end with .edu or .gov!

  19. Yes, I do believe multi-tasking is a ‘dangerous temptation.’ Take the death of craftsmanship, for example: Making one thing well, by hand, is almost a lost art. The march of time contributed to its decline; it became more profitable to make things quickly and cheaply. As a result, people mostly give up on making one or a few things well and divert their attentions to doing many things cheap ‘n’ fast. Sometimes you’ve got to stop and smell the roses…when you’re shopping and eating while you’re watching tv and talking on the phone.

  20. I think that technology definitely changes the way we think and act. I can barely even count the number of conversations I have been in that involves someone (many times, myself) saying “I’ll just Google it later. I have definitely become lazy in retaining information. I’ve become lazier at remembering directions. I have Google maps for that (and many other people have GPS). Why waste memory on useless facts or remembering how to get from place to place?

    You asked if multitasking is dangerous. I would argue that multitasking is not entirely possible. The brain can only handle one complex task at a time.(http://www.ccbi.cmu.edu/news/sandiegouniontribune-dualtask.html). What is dangerous are the people that think they can multitask well. What they are unaware of is that the concentration and quality of work done on one, or both, of their tasks will be significantly diminished. This may not be making us dumber, but it can certainly shorten our attention and weaken our focus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s