Is the Internet dumbing us down?
by rydogg7070 - 6/19/07 2:36 PM
I found this article interesting, and I may pick up the book and read what this guy has to say.
What do you all think?
by: rydogg7070 June 19, 2007 2:36 PM PDT
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Total posts: 24 (Showing page 1 of 1)
Just more old people paranoid about the future.
Shakespeare was supposed to ruin our culture, Elvis was supposed to destroy America and Paris Hilton was supposed to...well...the damage is done on that on.
It's like maths...
Kids aren't taught how to do it in their head that much these days thanks to calculators. But that doesn't mean people are becoming stupid at maths, far from it, it means kids can learn far more advanced maths, because they can concentrate on more advanced concepts and formulas.
Internet is the same way, it gives people access to any sort of information they desire with minimal effort, this will make people more educated generally I think.
Like any societial advancement there are pros and cons to everything. Granted a lot of information we are begining to get in short doses. Who has time to read entire articles now a days? So instead, we read snippets. We are becoming headline readers, instead of whole article readers. That can viewed in many different lights, one being, we get more total information, but less in depth knowledge about it.
The positive side, is we are becoming more connected. I have found people on myspace, facebook that I would have lost touch with forever, because either I've moved, or they've moved. Cultural divides are bridged because we have access for what makes different cultures tick. Art, history, music, everything is becoming linked together.
If anything, if we can take this massive global connection, I think in the future we will be better off.
Internet makes it easier to obtain long articles
It's entirely up to the individual and how much somebody feels like reading.
(NT) It's making us more broadly dumber.
(NT) What does broadly dumber mean, that's dumb
What does that mean?
How do you measure intelligence? If its by the amount of facts we've learned or retained, maybe we're dumber. But if its the approach in which we take to solve problems using our available resources: no, we've gotten no dumber.
Perhaps it is a facet of the
dumbing-down that I have to explain that 'broadly dumber' means that one undertakes a more generalised dilution of one's mental faculties / awareness of facts due to the breadth of misinformation available on the web.
Internet more a serendipity killer than dumb-downer
With all the personalization options, customized news filters, bots etc we have significantly reduced our exposure to ideas and information that differ from what we already know and/or believe.
I think this, more than anything, is the bummer -- and dangerous trend -- resulting from the internet and IT.
Here's an article that expounds on the issue much more eloquently:
That's where forums and comments come into play ;)
by Nicholas Buenk - 6/22/07 10:40 AM
In Reply to: Internet more a serendipity killer than dumb-downer by cyndymcc
After all, this debate is good for the brain, yes? This is where people argue and find ideas they don't agree with yes.
(NT) Mais oui, but BOLers are smarter than the average bear!
by cyndymcc - 6/22/07 10:48 AM
In Reply to: That's where forums and comments come into play ;) by Nicholas Buenk
Very interesting question, my answer would be yes and no, the main reason the internet may be dumbing us down would be because were aren't socializing properly and aren't using our intellectual skills to talk to others, that could be a form of dumbing down, but in the long run I believe it makes us smarter because it contains information that you can't get anywhere else and it is all accessible from your fingertips, I guess another form of dumbing down is censorship, poor Chinese people.
It's always about what one makes of it... That is in human nature.... One sees a half empty glass, another - a half full; one creates a bomb out of atom, another - a power station; for one it is a bloody terrorist and murderer, for another - a glorified freedom fighter.... Absolutely everything that humankind came up with is a double edged sword. The trick is to find a positive side, a creative opportunity, and use it for better... Now, all this depends on one's preposition, moral values and good will... Ax is a tool that got us "out of the caves"... Unfortunately, a lot of people got killed with that. They still sell them in hardware stores, don't they?
Topic is misleading
Andrew Keen seems to be focusing mainly on user-generated web content dumbing people down. I have to agree on this point. Myspace, YouTube and Wikipedia are full of people sharing erroneous, incomplete or useless information. I belive they do dumb people down
One might make an argument about Wikipedia, it has grown into a good resource. The risk is from user editability and people taking stuff on Wikipedia as fact.
Several lecturers at my university have made it explicit that Wikipedia should not be used as a reference for any academic works or assignments.
The fact they felt this needed to be said suggests younger people are a bit lazy and blas when it comes to looking up information on the web.
That aside YouTube and Myspace are both full of rubbish and most written communication that occurs through these sites is not done in a language which is clear or definable (i.e. abbreviations, misspellings and "leet speak")
You have no idea how much time and effort people put into their myspaces. If nothing else, that site takes up valuable time.
Youtube has SOME intellectually valuable videos. Then there is the other 99.9%... the mindless content, which DOES dumb you down and waste your time, albeit occasionally entertaining (12 year olds trying to break-dance, people launching roman candles at each other, dogs chasing rabbits...)
Wikipedia is no different from any other source...
In that everything has errors, one should not rely on one source. I would rely on Wikipedia as much as Britannica I think it has a similar standard. But with both if you need absolute accuracy, look for other sources to check and compare.
Biggest loss--the power of critical thinking
I am a regular and frequent user of Google and various other sources of online information. I am also an MCP programmer and developer and electronics specialist, so I am not a Luddite anti-technologist. However, the proliferation of information online which is either deliberately or unintentionally just plain wrong, combined with the "sound-byte" nature of many information sources, has led to a situation in which rotuine acceptance of erroneous information is commonplace.
The kind of in-depth understanding of history, issues, concepts, etc. which arises from doing thorough research into the subject cannot be obtained from the piecemeal information grabbing the Internet has made possible. In college, I recall having to do the research for papers, and reading numerous sources and making note cards which reflected _all_ of the questions regarding the thesis, not just those which agreed with my approach to the paper, in order to make a properly reasoned argument in the paper. Failure to do so, at least back then, would have meant failure of the paper.
Now, when one is researching a question online, it is all too easy to locate sites which agree with one's predetermined opinions and thoughts and to ignore those which do not. The ability to apply critical thought to the obtaining and evaluation of information is the most egregious of the negative effects brought about by the Internet. I've noticed this particularly in the area of politics and history, from listening to conversations of those who are, shall we say, not well read. Whether their bent is Al Franken or Rush Limbaugh, they seem unable to accept that there is any validity to any arguments counter to those that they have heard or seen expressed in their preferred venues, or to have ever thought, "I wonder what those on the _other_ side of this issue have to say?"
Great commentary, temuchen...thank you.
Are you insane -- or just asleep?
Last night I drove past a library in a neighboring town. Ten years ago it had a repuration as a research source because of its expensive subscriptions to services that indexed periodical publications. Compared with the results I get from a single ill-conceived search on the least effective engine on the net, eight hours of work in the library was a gross anachronism.
Our standards of accuracy are infinitely higher and the breadth of thought and the links to similar concept so powerful that the idea of "dumbing us down" is laughable. I invent medical devices and the quality and timing of our products has improved so much from the intervention of the Internet it is stunning!
But a look at the publisher and sponsor of the book in question does shed light on the view. Since the book does bring up the point of marginalising the "main stream media" one can understand the biased statement. MSNBC is so dependent upon "dumbed down" viewers who do not research their bombastic statements that they indeed should fear a public that verifies broadcast distortions and makes a decision to forgoe viewing for something more "balanced". I know the preceding are code words for some, but the fact is that the Internet has so enriched our intellectual experience to suggest otherwise questions the sanity of the original writer.
I don't think the reference is to the academic element.
Clearly for those who know how to optimally use the resources at hand, the Internet is a boon. Like you I have options which would have been unbelievable to me just fifteen years ago available now.
But that is not the point the author is making. He's making commentary regarding the social element of the Internet. The way I would summarise it would be that it dumbs down 'median' individuals further and removes some of the protection that the pre-Internet age had in order for this not to take place because it breaks down the chain of authority in key areas.
We live in a society where increasingly the rich get richer while the poor - whether you see it or not - get poorer. This will be a global process, not a local one. And the same I think goes for the Internet viz-a-viz dumbing down. As media and other information sources panders ever more to your prejudices and wants and itself increasingly is moving towards lacking any sort of oversight, the smarter will get smarter while the dumb or average gets dumber. And the interesting thing will be that this will be achieved by self-choice.
I think 'the cult of the amateur' is very real, whether it's a positive or negative.
What happened to the concept of a liberal education
First, if you think that the term "liberal education" has to do with your political ideology, you might be one of the people I'm writing about. My observation of the young people I have hired in recent years is that their general knowledge of the world, the arts, other religions and history has become more and more limited. Nor do I observe any in depth knowledge or interest in current events, and these are events that will have a profound influence on their lives.
As another writer or two have mentioned, it's not that the internet can't be a powerful reference tool, but it's that it's so easy to find only the ideas you want to find, and they're often condensed by someone with minimal background knowledge.
However, it's not just about or caused by the internet. TV news has become the same. There are fewer in depth reports, and more video bites. We see reporters who don't exhibit any depth of knowledge about the issues they report ... nothing but pretty, talking heads. At the local level, TV news has become the National Inquirer of the air. Fires, car cashes, shootings, and the current drunken celebrity make up the evening report. It's cheap to produce, and it sells soap.
It's a sad commentary when the Daily Show starts giving more information than the network news. I'm concerned that attention deficit has become our national malaise.
Attention Deficit Disorder
by rydogg7070 - 6/25/07 1:02 PM
In Reply to: What happened to the concept of a liberal education by anyport
I suffer from a mild case of this, although I don't know if it truely is what I suffer from. Every since I was a little kid I had trouble focusing. My mind would just wander aimlessly, even with topics I enjoyed. I got put on Ritalin when I was in 6th grade, unfortunatly I can't remember if that helped me or not. However I was really into technology, video games, and would jump at the chance to help my dad build or repair his PC, could this have had an impact on my adult attention, or, do I really have some sort of disorder now? Could it really be a clinical disorder, or just the fast paced, news bite, tech world we live in today? Or a combanation of both?
Could a side effect of the way we are growing up, in such a fast paced world, not being able to focus on anything for an extended period of time, be causing this global pandemic of ADD in our nations youth. Does it only effect the youth, growing up in a technological world? How many childern learn to use computers, cell phones, starting at age 5? Is that beneficial, or detremental to their attention span? What future does a child see now, without technology. Will future generations grow up an ask what it was like NOT to control technology with our minds? I'm half rambling here, half my lack of attention span and focus, and half that I work in a tech support center, so calls I get will break my train of thought... heh.
NO, people dumb themselves down
The internet is not dumbing anyone down, people are dumbing themselves down. its your choice to learn or not, instead of spending all your time on facebook bragging about yourself and posting pictures that you think look "cool" and makes you feel better about yourself why not use the internet for real purposes like "How to guides" etc, e books.blogging,writing articles,news(real topics not "how to get laid" or "what justin beieber ate for breakfast today". People are filling there brains with irrelevent information that takes up space. People make themselves dumb, the technology used for there stupidity is there choice........there not using it right.
Total posts: 24 (Showing page 1 of 1)