A Brave New World: On Google & the Human Brain

The world is a competitive place today, much more so than what the previous generations have faced over the years. While theirs was an age of pioneers, thinkers & awe-inspiring undertakings, ours is the age of the ubiquitous “Google”. While it has made our lives easier & assignments much easier to complete, there’s a part of us that runs the risk of becoming just an appendage,  a la the appendix in the human body. The entity I’m referring to is the Limbic system of the brain, comprising of the hippocampus, amygdala, etc., which is responsible for human memory.

Let’s face it, while a few years ago one might have taken a small amount of satisfaction in knowing something or gaining a bit of knowledge, that feeling has been relegated to the realm of utter & complete oblivion by the advent of the search engine. As the power & reach of the search engine improves, we take less & less effort in the pursuit of knowledge, & divert our efforts to having the best smartphones with the fastest data packs. While from my limited readings, I was quite sure that data retrieval is one of the fastest in the brain neural networks, I now pause and wonder: Is Google doing the job better than the brain?

Looking at the gradual changes in our day-to-day life & interactions, some inferences might be drawn.

  1. While a discussion on any topic was earlier a thoughtful enquiry into the causes, effects & factors of an event or an incident, now it’s just a race to search the most relevant review/opinion/rant/blog/vlog/post/podcast/comment/open-letter which is available on the internet & using it to justify whatever the present stand is.
  2. While any quiz was earlier a battle of wits & awareness of an individual, now its just a battle of the bandwidth of their respective data packs.
  3. While writing an essay or an article was earlier a measure of one’s literary prowess, its a matter of having access to the best spell-check/grammar-check tool now.
  4. While an assignment….oh you get the drift.

There’s no wonder then, that an anachronistic old timer, who shows the stupidity (or audacity?) of relying on the human brain in such a setting, should and does lose to the modern, tech-savvy human being. The thinking man is passé. Its the age of the connected, integrated Ubermensch, who can retrieve information at the touch of a button. Knowledge is secondary now, its the other skills that matter.

There’s just one question really, i.e., Is Google making us stupid?

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