Are we smarter because of Google? Gimme a break

To forewarn you- this is a rant. But I have to blow some steam here- just can’t easily accept pompous, big-headed statements like this one:

Effectively, people are about 20 IQ points smarter now because of Google Search and Maps. They don’t give Google credit for it, which is fine; they think they’re smarter, because they can rely on these tools. It’s one reason they get so upset if the tools are inaccurate or let them down. They feel like a fifth of their brain has been taken out.

Said Michael Jones, chief technology advocate for Google. I first read this on Directions Magazine on a post by Adena Schutzberg quoting the original interview in The Atlantic. Adena had this quote under the heading “Weirdest comment?” but maybe this is just her being polite 🙂

Don’t get me wrong- I think Google has changed the way we think about maps and revolutionised the whole mapping/GIS industry, etc, etc, all of which has been said before, so huge kudos. But claiming that using the Google maps -or Search for that matter- makes us smarter?? Please. Sure it provides tools that help us but maybe, just maybe, by doing so it  lets those brain synapses that are responsible for spatial awareness to go to waste. After all, you don’t have to make an effort any more to read a paper map, know which way is north, south east and west. Everything is there ready for you- map is just pointed to the direction you are going and a little voice is telling you to go left or right.

Just because  I can now go from A to B in a relatively painless and easy way with the help of my mobile phone doesn’t suddenly make me a brainiac. Its the same as claiming that I am a math genius because I have a pocket calculator…

I don’t think that it necessarily makes us dumber either, apart from maybe the synapses bit I mentioned before (which is not based on any scientific research whatsoever btw) and would generally agree with this post – which is where I got this  nice little image below as well…

I am smart because I can type in my home address (from the IonT3chology blog)

One thought on “Are we smarter because of Google? Gimme a break

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