Is Google making us stupid?

I am not talking about some Mel Gibson, shooter on the grassy knoll type conspiracy…

In a great cover story in the current issue of The Atlantic, Nicholas Carr poses the hypothesis that the internet has greatly impacted our reading habits.  Replacing the ability to read critically and deeply, the google-world creates ancy readers to whom skimming is the ultimate tool in the literacy toolbox.

Don’t get me wrong… the ability to have a literal world of information at my fingertips has changed MY life forever… research for a talk?  Google it.  Looking for a new car?  Carmax.com.  Need to order just about anything?  Amazon.com.

But as information begins to flow in bursts and bytes, I have noticed I have had to intentionally keep my habit of reading deeply sharp.  And my online – always connected – Google app enhanced Blackberry life works against the ability to read critically, analytically, and deeply.  It doesn’t prohibit it, mind you… in fact to be honest Google-life really doesn’t interfere with good reading if I am disciplined enough to regularly engage in the practice.  I just must work that much harder to stay in the habit.

All in all, I wouldn’t trade all that the instant-connect online world has brought me… but I want to keep at least one foot grounded in the deep reading world of literacy as well.

Read the Atlantic article here and some great commentary here.

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4 thoughts on “Is Google making us stupid?

  1. Hey Chris! I am the social media PR guy at the CarMax home office in Richmond, VA. Google Alerts notified me of your blog post mentioning us. I am glad you think of us when car shopping! I hope your readers will visit http://www.carmax.com when they want to shop for vehicles, too!

    Best regards,

    Chris W.

  2. @ Chris:

    Yes, I have actually purchased my last four cars at Carmax. Always been very helpfull… including rescuing me off of I-80 in Indiana while on business away from home. Handled towing, my rental car (even arranging the Avis office to open up so I could get a car), and all arrangements! I’m a big fan!

  3. Some futurists are predicting the internalization of google…where the current computer interface we use is inside us, making the gap between our memory and the info accessible on the internet negligible. When your brain has instant wireless access so rapid it is indistiguishable from “natural” memory…

  4. Now that amazes me that a PR guy at Carmax would be alerted by your mentioning of Carmax in your blog, then have the time to reply here to you.

    What an amazingly connected world we live in.

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