Have we become more or less intelligent because of Google?

A look at how Google has made us both smarter and lazier individuals

“Hey Google, how do you make banana bread?” 

“Hey Google, how do you spell pterodactyl?” 

We have all asked Google hundreds of questions, whether it be about a simple recipe or a self-diagnosis of a health concern. Google is the #1 search engine in the world and in return its developers have literally put it at our fingertips. Google, more often than not, quickly directs us to helpful websites, informative videos and educational material that will answer any of our questions. This unlimited access to an abundance of resources has the potential to make us more intelligent individuals. To pose a question the normal way we use this browser, however: “Have we become more intelligent because of Google?” 

I wouldn’t say we are more intelligent. But I do believe that we are more informed and knowledgeable individuals, at least to an extent. Intelligence is a much broader spectrum than simply knowing facts or being an expert speller. Google itself defines intelligence as the ability to not only gain understanding but also the ability to apply the resulting knowledge and skill. If Google has made you a better thinker and learner, then I would argue it has increased your intelligence by their definition. If Google has helped you with definitions and spelling, I would argue it has—by its own standards—increased your knowledge but not your intelligence.

There are also a few ways in which Google has not been very beneficial to us. Take Google Maps, for example. With the help of this GPS service, we know how to get from point A to point B. Do we really know, or do we just know how to follow directions? Before the GPS was invented, you would actually have to look at a physical copy of a map to know where you were going. That takes extra planning, memorization and focus when planning a drive to your destination. You wouldn’t hear “Rerouting…” every time you missed your exit, but would instead have to figure it out yourself. In this case, I believe Google has made us lazy and in fact discouraged us from exercising our natural brain power.

Although Google has proved to be a helpful resource in today’s  world, I would urge you to use it sparingly when you are able to find your answer through a different way. The next time you need to use your GPS, turn off Google Maps and try getting out a physical map. Mark out your route and see how you do the next time you travel to that destination; you will often find that you have a better chance of remembering how to get there than you expect, at least after several trips. Google is great, but let’s not let it stop us from growing our own intelligence.

Author: Katarina Quintana | Opinions Editor

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