Long ago, before the age of the Internet and smart phones, a strange thing occurred among people. People would hold discussions outside of classrooms for fun and as a way to keep that three-pound organ in-between their ears in check.
These discussions ranged from deep interpersonal conversations like “are we alone in the universe?” all the way to trivial matters such as “who played Norm on Cheers?” These debates often took place in social outlets like bars or sometimes in living rooms, where those in attendance would actually look at each other while talking instead of checking to see if their Instagram post got anymore likes.
Unfortunately, the days of the bar discussions are all but dead, and the culprit is Google.Now-a-days people don’t sit around and discuss who played what part in a movie. Instead they run to Google or IMDB and get instant gratification and an answer. Some might say this is good. “Why should we argue and bicker when we can just get the answer quickly?” What we’re missing out on is thinking; we’ve become a society that Googles first and thinks second. So I’m coining this phenomenon, “The Google Effect.”
The problem is The Google Effect goes beyond trivial matters and has actually affected our critical thinking skills. How many of us, when we’re trying to figure out a problem run to Google for the answer instead of figuring it out for ourselves and actually learning from the problem?
Furthermore, this problem has only grown with the invention of the smartphone. Now, each and every one of us has the ability to get information with the answers to our questions right in our pockets and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Our culture has become lazy; we care more about solving a problem to get it out of the way instead of learning and growing. Any problem we come across is an opportunity to learn, yet with Google and smartphones, we no longer are learning, we’re just solving a problem to get back to playing “Trivia Crack” and pretending we’re smart for winning.
To make matters worse, The Google Effect has inhibited our social skills. People no longer engage in small talk while waiting in line or even when hanging out with friends. Instead we hide our heads in our phones and hope we don’t have to talk to anyone. We are so used to getting our answers from a machine that people no longer want to interact with other people, just look at self-checkouts and Amazon. Even ordering a pizza no longer requires you to actually interact with another human being.
Before smartphones and Google we talked with one another, we used our brains to figure things out and we paid attention to others.Technology is great and can truly push that human race forward and make life easier for us, but the question is, at what cost? Is it really worth getting your answer quickly if it means losing your ability to think critically and defend your stance with others?
The bar discussion days are over but hopefully our days of problem solving on our own are not.For those of you wondering, George Wendt played Norm on “Cheers,” no need to Google it.
Logan Lilly is the Editor-In-Chief of The Spectator.