Is Google Making Us Stupid?
If it was literally any other question, we would just say "Okay Google" and find the answer right away. How many times a day do you use Google? I can't hear your reply but I'm going to assume quite a lot. Whether it's a new recipe, a to do guide or an academic research, Google comes to our rescue. It's not just a search engine but a solution to all kinds of issues. I remember, even one of my professors in college, kept telling us "just Google it." Look at that, it even became a verb. Well, Google was launched in 1996, so to use the little Math that I know, it's 21 years old - rather young, right? So, the question is, what did people do before Google? How did our grandparents get answers to their questions?
These are just some of the inquiries that Google gets me to wonder about. The truth is, the impact of Google is one big controversy with 2 chambers that bring up excellent points. The pro-Google folks claim that having such huge database is only for good. You can satisfy your curiosity 24/7, be it a serious concern or something silly that crossed your mind in the middle of the night. On the other side of the web, the anti-google crowd claims that because of Google, we no longer commit to any sort of data. And the pro-Google community, in response, quotes Einstein, "Never memorize something that you can look up."
If you want my opinion and since you reached to this point of the article, you probably do, Google is a tool and its implementation is completely and truly up to us, the users. Yes, Google makes us lazy and yes, Google does help us a lot. So, let's dig up the reason behind this dilemma, shall we?
We grant a lot of human characteristics to Google, forgetting that it's nothing but a gateway for people to pass the information that they have. Guess what, along with reliable sources, bad ones make their way to the web too. I am sure, I am not the first one to tell you, "don't trust everything you see on the Internet." Seriously, don't. Take the example of Google Translate. If you're a bilingual or just traveling to another country, Google Translate can save the day. However, the tempting speed and zero cost of Google Translate makes people trust the machine with serious translations. Is this the right approach? Of course no, important documents should be handled by certified translators. Is this the Google's problem? Absolutely, no. As an enterprise, Google promotes its products and services, and nowhere does it say, use our products exclusively. Thus, making it the choice of the users.
Google says it, so, it must be right. This attitude is the real cause of the overgoogleization. I know, I just made up that word but it illustrates my point. It's a phenomenon that makes people think Google makes us stupid. Let's be fair, stupid is a bold statement. Google seems the only source of information for us, so we simply stick to it. We refuse to go deeper, be it a conversation with a professional or even going to a library, yes, libraries are still around. In one of his articles, Genevieve Roberts states that we don't learn any data starting from numbers and finished with fun facts, because it's one search away. Sorry Roberts but I am going to take Einstein's side. It's not so much about committing to data but learning to check its validity.
If you search your symptoms on Google and it says you have got the x syndrome, which you can't even pronounce, it shouldn't imply another search on how to cure it. There are specialists, called "doctors" and in this particular case, instead of Googling "how to cure," Google "doctors nearby."
See, it all comes down to the right search. As much as Google tries to provide us with quality content, we'll come across nonsense and if we believe it, then no offense, we're already stupid. Learning to go beyond the search and top results will resolve the matter. Remember, you are the decision maker and Google obeys you and if you don't let it make you stupid, its supernatural skills won't either.