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Is Google making Scientists Dumber?

The last time you forgot an address what was your first instinct: to look it up on a map, or type out the bit you remember into GoogleMaps and wait for it to auto-complete?  What about looking for a new restaurant: did you ask a friend for recommendations, or search for restaurants in your area on Google?  OnlineColleges.net recently published a blog article suggesting that Google tools are actually affecting not just how we find info, but how our brains work.  Check out the discussion:




When I started thinking about how scientists can use Google as an excuse to be lazy, I was really surprised at all the examples I could come up with.  For instance, every time I need to make a fresh batch of PBS, I look up the recipe online, instead of writing it down or memorizing it (seriously, it’s not that complicated).  Or, there was the time I searched online to figure out how to do a diffusion transfer, and bookmarked the page so I could refer to it over and over in the next few weeks, instead of taking the time to think through how it worked so I could set it up myself.  Plus, I could name any number of scientists I know who slap pictures from Google image search into PowerPoint presentations without a second thought for accuracy or how it comes across to the audience.

So what do you think?  Are Google tools impairing the way we think and function?  Does easy access to information online make you more or less productive?  If using Google apps to “remember” and store information frees up mental space…how are you using that extra brain power?

Is Google making you dumber?

1 Comment

  1. Vicki Ronaldson on December 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    My feeling is that is makes us more productive by saving us time. The power of Googe is always amazing me – I recently blogged on the various Google tools available and since then I have discovered at least 3 or 4 more! Most recently ‘Google goggles’.

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