07September 2021

Is Smart Technology Making Us Dumb?

Have you ever had the experience where you go online to check something quick and innocuous like an address or a movie review only to find yourself being sucked into the black hole of the Internet where time seems to stand still? Come on, be honest, there is nothing to be ashamed of, we are all friends here!

As one of the top global leaders of online activity, 8 out of 10 Canadians clock in an average of 45 hours per month indulging in everything from work-related activity to gaming to social media. Apparently, many of us know all too well the blank stare, stunned silence, and feeling of brain overload that often follows extended sessions of digital indulgence. This increased online activity has grabbed the attention of researchers, who have begun to question how digital media is changing our physiological brains. Of particular interest among many is the very pressing and perhaps worrisome question, “Is the Internet making us “stupider or smarter”?

Take heart in knowing that your online digital indulgence may just actually be enhancing your cognitive skills and making you smarter.

The internet provides us with seemingly limitless data, prose, images, video, and other raw materials that could in theory enhance our intelligence and enable us to become more knowledgeable, to be more skillful or to otherwise use actionable intelligence. Maybe we could improve our decision-making, reflect on our beliefs, interrogate our own biases, and so on.

What are your thoughts on how the Internet impacts our thinking and intelligence? Does constant access to information actually help us to learn more? Will our brains ever become supercomputers that have the ability to process and retain reams of data?