Sunday, June 22, 2008

Google Brain Implants

I love Google! I really mean I am addicted to Google or any kind of search engine, although Google is my preferred searcher. I find it astounding that we can search for information by typing in words on our computer. I remember having to go to the library and searching in encyclopedias or books for what I needed to know. If I couldn't find it there, tough! Now if I have a question, I run to my laptop and google it (google is in the dictionary as a verb.) When I am not by a computer, I keep a list of things to look up when I am. When I drive in my car arguing about something with Kevin, I wish I had Google implanted in my brain. Enquiring minds want to know and they want to know NOW! (and I want to be right).

I am not alone in this thinking. Here is an article in the Atlantic Magazine called "Is Google Making us Stupid" that I could have written.
Author Nicholas Carr reminds of what HAL, the malfunctioning computer from 2001: a Space Odyssey, says before he goes down.

"'Dave, my mind is going,' HAL says, forlornly. 'I can feel it. I can feel it.' I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think."

Has Google changed the way we think? I think so, but my purpose in this blog is not to respond to Carr's article, which I hope you'll read on your own. My purpose is to discuss the ramifications of the influence Google has made. I won't say that I couldn't live without it because I have. It is like living without a cell phone or a garage door opener or a microwave oven. I could live without it, but wouldn't want to. The convenience is inexpressible.

The young adult novel, Feed, by M.T. Anderson warns us of the potential for abuse if I get my wish. Everyone has a computer implant which connects everyone to a computer with a program similar to the program Amazon uses that tracks your views and purchases and makes recommendations
I agree, but they way it has changed the amount of information we have. I recently did research for hours in the library -- not looking through books and journals and writing note cards -- but googling quotes and phrases, and cutting and pasting them into a computer document. I will never go back to the "old way" no matter what they say about Google.

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