Is Technology Changing Human Minds for the Better?
The Internet has become an indispensable and essential part of human life. In the modern society, more than 40% of the world population browses the Internet in the search of useful data. Numerous studies have proved that it has a positive impact on people using it. In the article titled “Will Google Make Us Smarter? Internet Experts Say Yes, But with Caveats,” Lea Winerman argues that the Internet and other technological innovations raise the level of human intelligence while the poll conducted by experts finds that the Internet users believe that online searchers will make people much smarter in the future. Indeed, this technological innovation has positively changed human life; however, there is another side of it. The problem is that the Internet alters the way people think, behave, and even communicate. In “Google Effect: Is Technology Making Us Stupid,” Genevieve Roberts outlines the contribution of technologies to the development of digital amnesia. Although technology has simplified life, it has changed human minds for the worse as it has made human brain lazy, decreased the level of face-to-face communications, as well as altered the way human memory works.
Computers with their access to online networks may decrease the level of intelligence as human dependence on such technologies might change the way people use their mind. It means that the Internet may make human brains lazy. The reason for this is apparent as the Internet serves as an appealing source, which offers an enormous amount of intellect. According to the article titled “The Internet May Be Changing Your Brain In Ways You’ve Never Imagined” by Carolyn Gregoire, those people who constantly browse the Internet might experience difficulty in sustaining their attention, thinking about one object or action for a long period, as well as thinking deeply as they receive new information from their computers all day long. Gregoire argues that the price such individuals pay for being constantly updated with new data is the loss of their ability to be contemplative and think deeply as it requires a person to concentrate his or her attention on one object. Personally, I agree with the author. Several decades ago, people used books if they had to get some data about a new object or action. However, nowadays, the situation has significantly changed. Instead of using libraries with large collections of books, people just seek for the necessary data in Google and choose the link, which corresponds to their needs. Unquestionably, such innovations have substantially simplified life. However, they have also made human brain lazy. The Internet offers easy ways for solving tasks. For example, if I do not understand something in English, I can use the Google Translate, which can easily translate any text into Chinese, my native tongue. The innovation is helpful; however, not in my case. Just because I always rely on my phone and computer, my English is still poor. I know that the Internet can help me. As a result, I spend little time on improving my English, which in its turn means that my brain has become lazy. The evidence proves that the dependence on the Internet may make people lose their ability to think and at the same time, weaken their brain capacity.
The constant use of computer technologies may also decrease the level of communication with other individuals. According to Gregoire, constant interruption and distraction undermine not only the attentiveness, which accounts for deep thoughts but also the attentiveness, which helps to support deep connections with other persons. However, the lack of communication may lead to less developed brain as such people prefer using online networks rather than holding face-to-face conversations. The addition to the Internet leads to the loss of cognitive control. Gregoire claims that individuals not only lose their attention but also the ability to control their mind, as well as determine their thoughts. The more such people use modern technologies and perceive the constant flow of data, which comes through them, the less they are able to understand and define which aspects are important for them. In this case, the human mind is attracted to those features that are new rather than to those, which are significant. The evidence proves that a low level of face-to-face communications caused by the constant use of computers may lead to sustained brain development. Hence, people use a variety of chat systems with the aim of holding conversations with each other. Indeed, online networks are fast and easy to use; however, their usage may make people lose face-to-face conversations with their friend and relatives. As people, who live in the modern society, always focus their attention on their computer or phone screens, they do not know how to communicate with other people. As a result, the use of modern technologies may decrease the level of face-to-face communication as the Internet users usually limit themselves to chats via phones or computers.
Aside from altering the way human brain works and decreasing the level of face-to-face communication, the use of technologies may also affect human memory. According to Roberts’ article titled “Google Effect: Is Technology Making Us Stupid,” up to 90% of people around the world suffer from digital amnesia. Over 70% of individuals, who constantly use the Internet, do not know their children’s telephone numbers by heart while approximately 49% have not memorized their spouse’s numbers. Roberts’ argues that those persons “who grew up in a landline-only world may also remember friends' home numbers from that era,” modern generation are unlikely to know their current mobiles because they have phones that do this job. Nowadays, technology has developed to the extent that makes it unnecessary to remember plans for the next day as telephones can record this and later remain their owner about his or her plans. Roberts claims that people treat the Internet as an extension to their memory. Moreover, their brains rely on the Internet for memory. In fact, such innovations have significantly simplified human life. However, reliance on technologies may lead to the fact that people will not even try to remember anything. Those persons who are addicted to technologies remember where the information can be found rather than the information itself.
On the other hand, there are people who advocated the positive affect of technologies on human intellect. In “Will Google Make Us Smarter? Internet Experts Say Yes, But with Caveats,” Winerman states that the Internet makes people smarter overall, although it also changes some aspects of human intelligence. The analysis of the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that people believe that the Internet will enhance their intelligence by 2020. I agree that by that time, the level of human intelligence will be much higher than it is now. However, people will just turn their intelligence into an artificial one.
In conclusion, technological innovations, including phones and computers that offer access to the Internet, have changed human minds for the worse as they have made human brain lazy, decreased the level of face-to-face communications, and changed the way human memory works. The Internet with its constant interruptions and distractions turns its users into superficial thinkers. As a result, people should avoid reliance on technologies and spend time offline to secure their memories.