Tech May Be Dumbing Us Down – Here’s What You Can Do to Remain Sharp and Intelligent
Let’s admit it. We’ve become increasingly dependent upon computers and technology to solve our problems. In fact, most of us are too happy to let AI do the thinking for us. We’ll get more time for our leisure, our games, our businesses and our chats. We’re always working, multi-tasking, yet we always feel left behind. We’re always trying to learn, yet somehow, we still feel like it’s not enough. We’re in a race against technology but we’ve already given them the path to winning. So as much as we’d like to praise technology for making life so much more wonderful, we also need to acknowledge the fact that it’s playing a dangerous game with our minds. Here’s what happening to us and how we can try to regain control.
Google – Mankind’s Digital Amnesia
Yes, there is a thing called Google Effect (Google it up to know more!). In more common terms, it is known as digital amnesia and refers to, ‘the tendency to forget information,’ that they access online. So the quick Google search you’re doing will give you the information you require which will be a spontaneous feed after which you’ll forget about it. This phenomenon is pretty common with college students who are increasingly reliant on Google to get the information needed to complete assignments. Yet, the very same students are not able to recall most of the information from their assignment because they didn’t have to dig for information in books and journals. They just had to type it, re-word it and fit it in the question context. We access so much information, but we rarely retain them and frankly, we don’t bother to because the information is readily available at a single click. So this is us slowing down our memory because we rely so much on Google.
How Do You Fix This?
Rely less on Google, more on books and newspapers. Practice journal writing. Keep a record of the information you find valuable. Whether it’s an assignment, a quick How-To, a project plan, a business term try identifying information that makes sense and try recording it. This way you can rely more on your memory than on Google. Also, refrain from Googling everything. Sometimes, it helps to think outside the box, to connect with people and to research using actual books and papers.
Death of Creativity – Trusting the Internet More than Our Creativity
Decades ago, designers would create logos and advertising posters using their creative imagination and inspiration from real life. Today, our inspiration is Pinterest, Facebook, Google Images and the likes. Decades ago, journalists and writers would rack their brains to write creative copy or content but today, copywriting is a lost art. Rather than spending hours in generating amazing copywriters today must write content to suit search engine rankings. So you have tons of information, billions of articles, but only a handful genuine and useful ones. If you were to take the road less traveled, you are sure to have your content stuck in a limbo because you’d not get traffic and no one would be able to read your content apart from your social media friends. Sad isn’t it?
How Do You Fix This?
Pick up a pen and paper. Don’t rely on typing. When you write, you force your brain to think clearly because you don’t have the luxury of backspacing or deleting content. Manual writing arouses creative juices and helps you stand out from the rest of them. Understand that you need to write to humans and not to machines.
Reduced Attention and Lack of Focus
So you’ve got ten browser tabs open and you flip through them like a pro. You’re so busy, doing so much. Talking to a client on Facebook, scouting a candidate on LinkedIn, writing up a plan on Google Docs, browsing the news on Washington Post. Wow. The point is, after half an hour, you’ve got nothing done. And that’s a regular story with all of us these days. We have so much going on and we’re so busy tackling ten things at a time, and although we feel drained, we still haven’t completed what we set out to do. Multi-tasking has always been over-rated because the fact is it kills your brain. MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller notes that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”
How to Fix This?
Very simple. Focus on one task at a time. Keep one tab open at a time. If you’re talking to your client, finish that off before you move on to making an invoice for the next. If you’re working on a project, stop reading the news. Use technology wisely and you can get a lot done.
It’s not that you should avoid or disregard technology, but you’re not supposed to literally hand over your brain to machines. The one thing that sets human apart from machines is our emotional intelligence which is dwindling down each day as we resort to being dependent upon our phones and our devices.