Google Makes Us All Dumber

In Ian Leslie’s Google Makes Us All Dumber: The Neuroscience of Search Engines, Leslie takes the standpoint in arguing not against technology, but how it is used. He said, “It’s not that the Internet is making us stupid of incurious. Only we can do that.” In saying so, Ian Leslie meant that the power of inquiry is vital to the development of human knowledge. Recent studies showed young children asking their parents thousands of questions in just a few hours. The most engaging conversations held were amongst the parents who responded to their children by saying, “I don’t know. What do you think?” Ian Leslie pointed out that Google does not ask us what we think, the search engine merely spits out exactly what we are looking to find out, without having to put in much effort at all. “One day, the gap between question and answer will disappear,” Leslie said. With that being said, the gap Leslie is referring to is the breach “between question and answer” which ultimately, “is where creativity thrives and scientific progress is made.” This “gap” is relevant to Leslie’s argument in that Google’s goal is to take away “every possible friction point between [users], their thoughts, and the information they want to find.” However, when the day comes and this “gap” vanishes, so will the possibility for inquiry. I have seen this in everyday life. Leslie noted how Google is even used amongst friends to settle disputes. Speaking from personal experience, Google is used multiple times a week in order to quickly find an unknown answer and resume the conversation.

The difference between Google Makes Us All Dumber: The Neuroscience of Search Engines and Is Google Making Us Stupid? is in the focal point of each piece. Carr focused more on what the Internet does to human’s in terms of ability to focus and really absorb information while reading long pieces of literature. Leslie spent more time developing on the idea that the Internet can possibly destroy the power of inquiry if it is not used correctly. I found Ian Leslie’s argument to be more intriguing because what he was saying made sense to me. He was not implying that Google is destructive to human development. His standpoint was quite the contrary. “The Internet has the potential to be the greatest tool for intellectual exploration ever invented, but only if it is treated as a complement to our talent for inquiry rather than a replacement for it.”


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