Larry Page, the co-founder of Google and the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, once said that he helped to found Google because he was “super optimistic about the potential for technology to make the world a better place.” Many people think that his optimism was misplaced. While technology as a whole, and specifically computers and the Internet, have become an integral and convenient facet of people’s lives, it is unfortunate that technology has made people dumber than they used to be. Technology has made information too available, expedited the spread of false information, and made people too reliant on its function to stop using it.
Technology like the Internet has given people access to resources that only a few decades ago would’ve been out of their reach. Any question can now be answered with the press of a button! Unfortunately, just because people are using those resources doesn’t mean they’re learning anything from them. You wouldn’t call someone smart if they aced a test with the answer key in their hands or, for instance, submitted an essay or outline not written by themselves but ordered online from some writing company. Such ready access to information with no need to actually learn it is making us dumber.
Technology also allows connection between people. Through various social media, forums, and messaging apps, people can share information, engage in discussion, and expose themselves to new viewpoints. At least, this is the theory behind many of these platforms and a core facet of the pro-tech argument. But theory and practice are often quite different. In reality, the Internet is a lawless place where facts can be and are fabricated; where people truly believe that “if it’s on the internet, then it must be true!”; where discussion is pushed aside in favor of slinging epithets and insults; and where it is altogether too easy for people to trap themselves in echo chambers, where they begin to believe that everything they think is the truth and anything else is blasphemy. People aren’t getting smarter by using these platforms, not by a long shot.
People rely on technology so much nowadays that they’re unable to do some basic tasks without it. Keeping track of events is now done with applications like Google Calendar, so you can put down an event, forget about it, and be reminded later. For college assignments students now prefer to use custom writing companies such as BeeStudent, EssayTask, Data Researchers Network, NewEssay, etc., rather than doing them on their own. Independent GPS systems or smartphone GPS systems eliminate the need to know how to read a map, and who would have to recall how to address an envelope or write a letter when you could email or text someone more quickly and cheaply? We just don’t need to know how to do things anymore, and that loss of knowledge would count as making us dumber.
It’d be wrong to say that technology has, across the board, made people smarter or dumber. You can’t completely vilify technology because it’s introduced plenty of problems into the way that people interact and society functions. You can’t condemn it as all bad because it’s also solved lots of problems, helping to make people’s lives safer, easier, and happier. It’s all about what you use and how you use it. On the whole, though, a little less reliance on technology wouldn’t hurt.