Technology growth seems to be accelerating to the point where it is hard to find out what the current growth rate even is!
Let’s just say it is growing REALLY fast!
This presents an interesting question – is all this technology helping to make us smarter, or is it having the opposite effect?
We have access to so much more information! While it isn’t quite like plugging yourself into the matrix like Neo did, between the internet and eReaders you can find out about almost anything with a few keystrokes (and you still have to read it!).
Does that make us smarter?
It can, depending on how we are using it. I had a professor many years ago that told us not to try to keep every little thing in our heads, but to remember the important, often-used information and know where to find the rest.
I still believe that to be good advice. But do I NEED to know what Brad Pitt had for breakfast, and does knowing that make me smarter?
What about subjects like math, where we used to have to memorize our multiplication tables and answer decks of flash cards.
Today’s math students use calculators, and many of them couldn’t work out the equation “by hand” if they had to! I often wonder how they would ever know at the grocery store if the total was off?
GPS devices give us turn by turn directions, which is nice, but what if it ran out of power or broke, and you had to use a map?
On the other hand, if you are traveling and are in a new city, how do you find a good restaurant? As the commercial says, “There’s an App for that!”
And that is useful, right? And much more convenient than dragging around a guidebook, thumbing through to find the list of approved restaurants, etc.
If you are a business person and you need to study the competition, gather stats, and put together a presentation with graphs in a slideshow? Baklava! (That’s Greek for “piece of cake.”)
Computers and tablets and Smartphones give us access to so much, which is wonderful, but it also has helped us to take multitasking to a whole new level, and research has shown us that the result is a reduction in quality across the board.
It is a very interesting question isn’t it? I think the answer is “YES,” it is helping us to be smarter and not smarter…
Read Carolyn Nicander Mohr’s thoughts on the subject at Has Technology Made Us Smarter or Dumber?
How has technology affected YOUR smarts?