Is Technology Making us Stupid
Theprevalence in the use of technology in the present age has madecomplex things seem simpler and made simpler things seemnon-existent. Imagine a single day without your smartphone, orinternet connectivity: probably that day will be characterized byrampant forgetfulness and skipping important activities. You will beunable to remember how much you spent what you were supposed to doand where you were supposed to go at a specific time. Reliance onsuch technological devices is huge such that we can almost not dowithout them. Imagine how limited knowledge was ten two decades agowhen such mediums like Facebook, Google and Wikipedia never existent.The question we ask ourselves is how did people who lived in this eramanaged to communicate and share vital information, or how did theyget to remember their schedules and never even skipped a singlemeeting because of forgetting. If you compare the people who lived inthis era and the present society, you will probably conclude thatcurrent technology oriented people are stupid (Bouwhuis, 2010).
Thecontinued rise in the use of apps and software has enabled an easieraccess to information and even simplified tasks that we could notfathom to handle easily. On the other hand this has lowered thecredibility of our brain power such that a 40 year old technologyoriented individual is termed as dumper as compared to a seven yearold without internet connectivity this is so long as the seven yearold has access to the web. Life has transformed quickly and become socomplex, the main reason why we do not see this complexity is thereliance on technology which has become a backbone of our dailylives. For instance, if one asks you how many phonebook numbers haveyou memorized? Probably the maximum number one can give is twonumbers. This is a clear illustration of the dwindling brain power ofthe people living in the technology characterized society. 90% of thetasks in the society are mainly handled by technological devicesleaving only 10% to individuals (carr, 2008).
Psychologistshave come forth with an explanation of the existing trend on theprecept that technology has enabled simplify the complex nature oflife in the current era. In their explanation they postulate it intwo distinct approaches of human intellect that include fluid andcrystallized intelligence this is attached to the Raymond Cattell’sModel of Intelligent Quotient (IQ) of the 1940s (McCormack, 2012).Fluid intelligence depicts to the ability to acquire and processinformation. When it comes to the use of computers, this is majorlyillustrated by the processing speed and RAM capacity of a computer.The more the RAM and the higher the processing speed of a computerthee faster and more effective computers can multi-task and the morethe activities a computer can handle (Stillwaggon Swan &Goldberg, 2015). Aligning this to the human precept, the higher theefluid intelligence the faster the processing speed and multitaskingapproaches handled by an individual. Evidence depicts that fluidintelligence has been increasing over the decades this is whatpsychologists refer to as the Flynn effect. For instance an averagechild in the 1950s would be handicapped by the current IQ tests thepresent child would be termed as a gifted child in the 1950s,however, that is limited to their ability to process complexinformation within the shortest time frame and tied to their fluidintelligence (carr, 2008).
Thesecond aspect of the human intellect is the crystallized IQ thatconnotes what we actually know at a specific time, it is not theability to gather information. In simple terms crystallized IQ meansthe base knowledge. With the current world reliant on outsourcing,cloud sourcing and crowdsourcing, individual storage of theinformation is very minimal in comparison to the 1950s individualswho relied on their intellect to store and retrieve information.Humans in the present era rely on their devices like smartphones toconnect to networks and retrieve the answers to find a solution thisis what has been termed as the hyper-link economy. In this case theonly knowledge needed is where we need to find stuff that isappropriate to a given situation. The traditional approach ofcrystallized IQ was based on the ability to store information onhuman brain. As much as there is no evidence to depict a decline inthe crystallized IQ in humans there is ever sign to show that thereis a he decline as the present age individuals tend to rely ontechnology to store all their data.
Whatcan be concluded from the relative transformations experienced forthe past 10-15 years is that technology has had a huge impact on allsectors of the society ranging from education to social lives.However, to test the level of smartness and stupidity brought aboutby technology we take a clear look at the impact of technology oneducation. Consider the way kids and students learn in schools, theselearners are often asked to memorize answers and grasp the knowledgeand are not allowed to refer answers on exam situations. It istotally different from the way we learn, think and solve problems ina real world scenario. Technology has been termed as an enhancer onour ability to solve problems in the society, however, I seem todisagree with this point because technology is doing prettyeverything.
Inhis study McCormack (2012), found out that about 80% of the people onthe present age barely remember most of their data. In fact thelarger proportion of the individuals relied on devices such assmartphones to remind them what they actually wanted to do atspecific time. As explained by Nicholas Carr in his article theshallowsmemory is depicted in two forms the long term memory and thetransient memory (carr, 2008). The long term memory is the permanentkind of memory while the transient memory is the temporary scope ofthe memory in the human beings. Any break in the processes of theworking memory will erase vital information from the mind before theyget transferred. There is no limit given on the magnitude of theinformation to be transferred by the working memory. However, takingtoo much information is like pouring water into a glass and expectingit not to over flow. Comparing the present day individuals and the19thcentury individuals it is imperative to note that the present dayindividuals have a lower magnitude of the working memory as opposedto the 19thcentury individuals, this is despite the fact that the present dayindividuals have become smarter with the aid of the technology thatcontinuously shapes their interactions (Stillwaggon Swan &Goldberg, 2015).
Internetaddition is a huge problem faced by youths across the globe, most ofthe youths stick on the internet playing games, socializing andlistening to music on such platforms as YouTube. The main question toask in this case is, is this productive in the long run? Does ithamper their reasoning? Very many authors and researchers have comeforth with different answers to address these questions. In his studyBouwhuis (2010) depicts that technology is a huge destruction to theyouths in the society and it has lowered their productivity in thesociety. For instance, instead of the youths spending their time toread meaningful course materials they spend their time skimmingthrough entertaining materials. The author points out that as much asit affects their performance in class, it does not affect their IQ,and in fact the author says that technology makes them smarter andnot stupid. This is the same position held by carr (2008) who depictsthat being able to learn how to use the latest technology itself is abrain opening task that requires a high IQ.
Inmy opinion technology is a huge impediment on the memorability of theindividuals in the society. However, there is no basis to depict thattechnology lowers human IQ. A comparison of the present IQ and adecade old IQ will probably depict that the present IQ is stillhigher and more superior to the former. This is an illustration thattechnology is not impairment on the IQ levels of the humans in thesociety. If at all technology affects the human IQ then it shouldenhance it altogether. Thus, technology does not make us stupidrather it eliminates the capacity of our brains to store dataimmensely.
Bouwhuis,D. (2010). From stupid technology (ST) to stupid intelligence(SI). Gerontechnology, 9(4).doi:10.4017/gt.2010.09.04.017.00
carr,n. (2008). Is Google Making Us Stupid?. YearbookOf The National Society For The Study Of Education, 107(2),89-94. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7984.2008.00172.x
McCormack,N. (2012). Are E-Books Making Us Stupid?. InternationalJournal Of Digital Library Systems, 3(2),27-47. doi:10.4018/jdls.2012040104
StillwaggonSwan, L., & Goldberg, L. (2015). Are Social Media Making UsStupid? [Opinion]. IEEETechnology And Society Magazine, 34(1),8-9. doi:10.1109/mts.2015.2396049