Well, we can’t imagine a world without Google. From finding out where we need to go for dinner to solving more complex problems like how to edit a music video, Google’s been there for us through thick and thin. But then, as they say, too much of anything is bad, and that’s the case with Google too. (Who uses other search engines?)
According to a recent study, depending way too much on Google instead of memory can increase the risk of dementia. “It’s important to promote good brain health and to do that is to use it, but these days we seem to outsource our brain to the internet. If we want to know something, we look it up online rather than trying to recall the information from our memory,” Frank Gunn-Moore, from University of St Andrews UK said ahead of his lecture in Scotland about Alzheimer’s.
“It’s an experiment the human race is running and we will have to wait and see if the outsourcing affects dementia prevalence. There are several factors that could result in Alzheimer’s – environment, stress on the brain, genetics,” he added.
Indeed, the way technology has advanced has made us dumber, it’s something we know from experience as well. As kids, we usually remembered the phone numbers of our friends. But now, we don’t anymore because we depend too much on our smartphones. Ditto, with birthdays.
If you share your birthday on Facebook, you’ll get at least 50 birthday wishes. If you don’t, that number will drop drastically. Even your best friend might have forgotten.
“Dozens of studies by psychologists, neurobiologists and educators point to the same conclusion: when we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning,” Nicholas Carr writes in his book What the internet is doing to our brains.
As journalists too, we rely a lot more on internet these days than our memories, mostly because we know at the back of our heads – “We don’t need to remember this information, because we can always find it later on the internet.”
That said, despite this knowledge that our brain cells may be getting weaker, we are glad that Google has been invented. There’s so much that our memories can store, but Google’s potential is much more vast. We wouldn’t have learnt so many things so easily if not for Google.