Various studies and writers have convinced many of us that Google is making us stupid. As a counterpoint, NPR’s Alva Noë argues that Google is just another tool that allows us to extend our brains, similar to dog-earing a page in a book.
In fact, Noë believes that the way we use Google is a very natural expression of our evolution:
We have evolved not to be representers-of-the-world, but to lock-in and keep track of where we find ourselves. We use landmarks and street signs to find our way around; arithmetical notation makes it possible for us to calculate with big numbers; we wear wrist watches so that we can know the time without needing to know the time; and we build libraries so that we have access to what we need to know, when we need to know it.
The so-called Google effect is merely the latest expression of a cognitive strategy that is almost as certainly as ancient as our species.
The argument, as Noë presents it, is that yes, technology is changing our lives. It just isn’t changing the way that our minds work. It’s an interesting perspective, and one that might ease your anxiety if you’re concerned that Google’s made you dumb (Noë suggests finding something else to worry about). Hit the link below for the full post, and agree or not, share your thoughts in the comments.