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Opening Arguments

Google dummies

Don't think you're such hot stuff just because you know how to use a search engine:

Search engines like Google or Yahoo make people think they are smarter than they actually are because they have the world's knowledge at their fingertips, psychologists at Yale University have found.

Browsing the internet for information gives people a ‘widely inaccurate’ view of their own intelligence and could lead to over-confidence when making decisions, experts warn.

In a series of experiments, participants who had searched for information on the internet believed they were far more knowledgeable about a subject that those who had learned by normal routes, such as reading a book or talking to a tutor. Internet users also believed their brains were sharper.

"The Internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world's knowledge at your fingertips," said lead researcher Matthew Fisher, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in psychology at Yale University.

It was the late, great Isaac Asimov who said, "Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do."(Found it with Google!)

Nowadays, anybody can find everything, but that's not the same as knowing everything. I sometimes think the Internet is even making us stupider. When you had to actually search hard for something, digging into books and old issues of magazines, maybe even going to the library (!) you had time to puzzle together what you were working on. As a bonus, you might even have learned something you weren't looking for. Some of my favorite words are ones I stumbled across while I was looking up something else entirely in the dictionary.

People thinking they're smarter than they are. Hell, that's always been the case. Internet's just speeded it up, like it does everything.

Posted in: Web/Tech


Lois Marquart
Wed, 04/01/2015 - 6:59pm

Yep, as much as we hated those research papers, we were really learning something "the good old way".  I now appreciate all the efforts I went to in my education.

Andrew J.
Thu, 04/02/2015 - 9:01am

Guess they must have been geniuses comapred with us when they were writing with charcoal sticks on parchment.


Sat, 04/04/2015 - 11:14pm

Google technology is not entirely reliable. Their Chrome browser has a worrysome glitch that you can test by googling "Nipsco" from Chrome. You will not be able to open the website. Same thing happens when you google "NiSource."

Use IE or Firefox and the sites open.

But the real reasonI for this posting was to confess that I  was addicted to the "Hokey Pokey" until I turned myself around.