Could you live without the internet? Is it making us dumberer?

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I am an internet junkie. I fully admit it. One day I may just have to go to an IA meeting. You know, Internet‘s Anonymous. haha. There are many debates about the benefits of global and instant communication and whether it improves the lives of people. Very similar to our parents and their parents before them with TV, radio, and telephones.

With such a huge shift in the way people communicate and gather information, how would you adapt if the internet didn’t exist anymore? With Egypt pulling the plug on its citizens last week, the threats of making governments accountable through Wikileaks cables, censorship, bandwidth throttling, etc…, there is always a threat looming that one day the internet may disappear, whether by governments in power, or more nefarious means(anonymous, hackers, terrorists, etc…).

I argue that the world would be a more oppressive and closed society without the internet. It has advanced to the point where essentially most of the world’s population can gain some access. As a global community, the internet is a way to keep regimes accountable, question globalization, see the effects of economic decisions on 3rd world countries, not to mention as a counter-balance to the Corporate run news agencies that tend to pick a side and not report both sides of the story. All good right?

But, when we rely on the internet to educate ourselves, we are missing an important step in progress. Time. The time it takes to problem solve, to form an opinion, read a book, physically or mechanically try and try again, work out a puzzle. We are becoming a society of instant gratification and instant answers, instant fast food. We simply look up the solution to the problem online. We don’t have to think or work it out!

To top it off,  the answers are fed to us by large US companies(Google, Microsoft, Yahoo) looking to make money, mostly through advertisers trying to convince us to buy their stuff. In the span of a couple of generations, we are losing the skills passed down generation by generation because we can just go and look it up, or buy it. What happens then, when you can’t look it up anymore? Just a thought.

Here is a good article on the study of why the internet makes us stupid. Enjoy. Now, put down the computer and go do something…Can’t find anything to do? Well, I guess just Google it…


6 Replies to “Could you live without the internet? Is it making us dumberer?”

  1. You make some interesting points but if you didn’t have the internet, people would still find out stuff from cable TV. If it came down to the government closing down the internet or phone service, people could still use shortwave radios or CB radios to communicate.

  2. Well-written and entertaining too. You make some valid points here. I think many of us in this ‘global community’ got to thinking a little deeper when Egypt turned off the Internet.

    I’ve thought about this topic since I saw it go by in the WP-challenge, and will write my take on it too … on a personal level.

  3. Your points are very interesting. We have definitely become a society that expects (and even needs) instant answers, instant replies and instant gratification. If you haven’t already, read ‘The Shallows’ by Nicholas Carr, to whose article you linked. It’s a fascinating book!

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