Google is making us stupid?

Nicholas Carr (2008, July/August). Is Google Making Us Stupid? Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved August 18, 2008, from http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

In our Web 2.0 class, we had an interesting discussion about this article. I was surprised when Dr. Alexander mentioned this article in our motivation class as well. So THIS GOOGLE thing is not a problem only for instructional technology itself! 🙂

The company has declared that its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It seeks to develop “the perfect search engine,” which it defines as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.”

“The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people—or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.” In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.”

The author has a really interesting point speaking from Google (artificial intelligence)’s point of view and users (human being)’s point of view.

This was also a nice discussion topic with my undergraduate students since they’ve never thought about this issue before. For their generation, learning something they don’t know is just getting knowledge from their fingertips. They don’t have to check out books from the library and look for information. For me too. The way we find information is physically different from before. Maybe cognitively different as well. Not sure.

We have to evaluate the sourses of information. For me, evaluating something sometimes seem easier online because you can easily find information or find links to anther source. For instance, shopping on Amazon, you can read information about the product as well as read other people’s comments. Even though sometimes comments can be biased especially when you have this direct linked to the profits. Some companies may keep posting positive comments (on E-bay) but eventually the mass force can’t be ignored or fooled. 🙂

For evaluating knowledge – search results of google – I think human brains (especially in collective efforts) can be really powerful! Just like “Stumble upon” users with similar interests suggest useful resources and used by everyone else. Google recently allow users to individualize the search results. by deleting or prioritizing results. what impact is it going to make? I am not sure.

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