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Is The Internet Making Us Smarter?

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Yes and no.  It provides access to more information ("Google is your friend.") yet makes it easy to spread misinformation and disinformation.  Critics say:  The internet has reduced our ability to focus; changed how our memory functions; promoted skimming text over deep, critical reading (which, in turn, promotes dangerously false information); and changed how we interact with people.



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  • anarchist100anarchist100 680 Pts   -  

    Yes and no.  It provides access to more information ("Google is your friend.") yet makes it easy to spread misinformation and disinformation.  Critics say:  The internet has reduced our ability to focus; changed how our memory functions; promoted skimming text over deep, critical reading (which, in turn, promotes dangerously false information); and changed how we interact with people.
    hey, at least there's some diversity of misinformation now days, in the past only the government got to lie to the plebs. Now any aspiring leader can try their hand at it.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4713 Pts   -  
    The Internet does not do anything to your intelligence; you do something to it by choosing to utilize the Internet a certain way.

    I have not found any of those negative claims to be true for myself.
    • I do not use social media for anything other than quick communication. It is an incredible tool when you want to quickly discuss some issue with one of your friends or make group plans, and I would not be able to interact as effectively with a lot of people without them.
    • I always try to act with intent. I never go to Youtube to watch random videos, and, whatever I do on the Internet, I give it my full attention. If I am reading an article, then I am actually reading it, ignoring everything else until I am done. If I am writing a code and having a manual page open, then that page is all that is going to be there - I will not be checking my email every few minutes. And when I am reading something, I am reading it as deeply as I can; skimming is also useful sometimes, but it is not my primary reading mode.
    • False information is only a problem if you do not use your brain when reading through it. I do not accept anything unless compelling evidence/argument in favor of it has been presented. Having false information out there is actually useful: it tells me what people around the world think and allows me to use that to my benefit.
    The Internet is a true marvel, possibly the greatest technology humanity has ever developed (far greater in its positive impact than invention of the wheel, for instance). You have access to virtually everything immaterial humanity has ever produced: knowledge, texts, music, movies, software... All of that just a few clicks away, and most of it essentially free!

    Do not misuse a good thing, and you have nothing to worry about. Misuse the best thing in the world, and you are screwed. Sleep is one of the most basic human needs; force yourself to sleep for 15 hours every day through various sedatives, and see how you feel in a month. Does not make sleep make you unhealthy, only makes your relationship with make you so.
    anarchist100
  • BoganBogan 195 Pts   -  
    When IQ testing was first invented in the 1930's, it was decided that the most common IQ for white Americans would be the standard.   That was an IQ of 100.   Since then, white people have become smarter because it is believed that living for long periods of time in complex societies makes people smarter over the generations.     White US people today have a most common IQ of 103.    
  • xlJ_dolphin_473xlJ_dolphin_473 1705 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar
    MayCaesar said:
    I never go to Youtube to watch random videos...
    Really? Most YouTube views come from the "suggested" function, which is the sidebar of videos that show up when you watch a video. Given that these videos are selected to be interesting to YOU, the viewer, do you really never indulge in some mindless browsing? I find this somewhat surprising.
  • xlJ_dolphin_473xlJ_dolphin_473 1705 Pts   -  
    @MayCaesar
    MayCaesar said:
    Sleep is one of the most basic human needs; force yourself to sleep for 15 hours every day through various sedatives, and see how you feel in a month. Does not make sleep make you unhealthy, only makes your relationship with make you so.
    Interesting that you chose that example, when a large chunk of the population are instead running on far too little sleep, and fuelling themselves with caffeine every day in an effort to stay awake. Forget all these "productivity hacks": getting a decent amount of sleep each night is the simplest and most effective one of them all.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4713 Pts   -   edited September 22
    @xlJ_dolphin_473

    Like I said, it is not about the technology itself, but about how you use it - and yes, a large chunk of population misuses it regularly.

    When it comes to Youtube, I certainly skim through the suggested videos when I want to watch something, but I am very intentional about what I choose to watch in the end - if there are multiple videos of interest to me and I only want to watch one, then I will bookmark other ones for later. I absolutely hate wasting time in general, and the moment I feel that the activity I am doing currently has become mindless, I immediately switch to something else.

    As for the sleep, I, as a chronical undersleeper myself, think that its importance is grossly exaggerated - but that could be very individual. Some people cannot function without sleeping for 8 hours every night; others can go on for weeks on 3-4 hours of sleep daily without feeling particularly off. Of course, if you need caffeine to function, then that is a sure sign that your sleeping regime is not working for you. 
    Again, it is very individual, but personally I found that it is much more important to wake up at the same time every morning, than it is to sleep enough. The organism somehow adapts to whatever (consistent) sleeping schedule you choose, and if you have been waking up at exactly the same time for months without ever hitting the snooze button, then eventually you do not even need an alarm most of the time: your organism automatically wakes up around that time. That is no excuse to undersleep all the time, but it does seem to diminish the effects of that.

    A lot of success in life depends on one's ability to figure out what works for them, to detect their weaknesses and mitigate them by adjustments to their lifestyle. It does not really matter what we are talking about: anything can be used and misused. Something as universally condemned as alcohol can be a very useful and effective tool if you manage to establish a proper relationship with it, one that works for you. It can also be your doom if you approach it mindlessly and just go by your immediate whims.
    If you feel the urge to check your email, or Facebook, or Twitter every few minutes and do not take steps towards cleaning up your act, then, yes, the Internet is going to have a pretty destructive impact on your life. The good news is, humans are intelligent creatures that can identify a source of a problem and develop a plan on how to fix it. The bad news is, they do not always choose to do so.
    John_C_87
  •   The law of physics describe that the internet may, or may not make people smarter, but it states as fact the internet does allow dumb to travel faster than the speed of sound.

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