Is Google Making Us Stupid?

That's the title of Nicholas Carr's latest article (and the cover story) for the Atlantic. I just finished it and it's an interesting article discussing how Google has been reprogramming our brains. I haven't been able to find a copy online yet, but the gist of it is that since the internet makes things so easy to find, we no longer are able to read deeply and critically; we just skim. I found that interesting.

You can check out his blog at

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skunkbait9 years ago
Great idea! It wasn't the booze, or the weed, or my disdain for education: Google made me stupid! I may use this next time I get arressted! Or maybe I could get on public assisstance (I'm not quite fat enough), and draw a check for my "Google Induced Stupidity"!
Better yet, sue google for getting you arrested...
Gjdj3 (author)  skunkbait9 years ago
Haha. I sorta agree with what you say. It's not making us stupid.
westfw9 years ago
I've comment now and then that the Internet is in dire need of "Library Science." Full text search of everything has it's uses, but it is not at all the same as the sort of catagorization that Dewey applied to books. The "no longer able to read deeply and critically" criticism has been going on for ages, with the blame added at all sorts of new media (comic books, radio, television, etc.) It probably started about the time "the masses" were being taught to read as a matter of course (the percentage of readers capable of reading deeply and critically has in fact gone down.) A complaint usually heard from authors who feel they are underappreciated (or at least that not enough people buy their books.) The way I see it, near-illiterates skimming online internet material is a lot better than the same people not doing any "research" at all...
Well the text searching system does work to some extent google is not a good tool for seaching things for reference and specific materials of research since it sorts but releveance and popularity, relevance to the words you searched isn't the same as looking up a subject, it works because most subjects mention themselvs at some point but searching jet physics will bring up page after page of websites selling or building jets for example...
Gjdj3 (author)  westfw9 years ago
That's a good point. My brother's not much of a reader, but he learns a lot about his R/C airplanes (how to build them, etc.) from google.
Labot20019 years ago
Interesting theory, but why blame Google for a generalization?
Because Google is ridiculously popular, and largely to blame.

The word has become a verb - people do search the web, they google it. If I set a reasearch task as homework, I now have to tell my pupils to make a note of the url, and then deduct marks if the url is, because they've not even realised that Google is just a search engine, and the information is actually on a different website. I sometimes even have to ban use of google, and actively require the use of books.

Worse, almost, is the way they land right at a complex answer without having to work up to it. No thought about implications or alternatives. It's top of the page so it must be right.

I once had a parent moaning at me because I gave their child zero marks for a forty-page project on "The Planets". They wouldn't take my reason that the child had handed in forty pages of a website about horoscopes (links and adverts complete!) because they had typed "Facts about the Planets" into Google and clicked the first link. It was on Google, it must be right...

Google isn't making us stupid, it's making us lazy.
Gjdj3 (author)  Kiteman9 years ago
I agree with that. ... And is the thing about "The Planets" a true story? There's no way someone did that and left the advertisements in. Very amusing either way.
Kiteman Gjdj39 years ago
It's true, hyperlinks underlined in blue and everything.
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