Friday, June 13, 2008

Is Google Making Us Stoopid?

Provocative article. Personally I think the whole thing makes sense: of course we skim through everything nowadays, there's just too much content for any sane person to go through. What I don't see is the correlation between the content disposition and stupidity: Being able to read long novels in one sitting is hardly an indicator of knowledge or intelligence.

One part of the article I particularly liked though was the one about Socrates; it is indeed very easy to fall into a false sense of being knowledgeable, considering the vast amount of opinions floating around blogs and forums, and the open communication format of the web encourages loudness and attention grabbing skills over actual information. Just because you agree with what people say on your favorite sites doesn't mean you're knowledgeable about any given subject as a whole (especially since everything is bound to have gray areas).

Take the C-61 thing I talked about yesterday for example: not many people actually read the document; most will base their opinions based on what they already do with their digital media and (maybe) what Slashdot tells us that Michael Geist said (he reportedly hasn't read the whole thing yet, mind you). However, there's no secret conspiracy stopping Geist from finishing reading it and further solidifying his position as an expert in copyright legislation.

There are other ways to become more knowledgeable too. One could start looking into ACTA and, in the process, find out that is a really interesting site for things concerning non-IP-related law matters, or maybe get interested into economics, politics or whatever other factor that plays into the copyright protection game. Then, we go from there.

Are we going to eventually become ultra-efficient mind machines? I don't think we have to, but if we want to accomplish anything significant, we probably should. Not at skimming, but at specializing.

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