People often wonder what technology is doing to our society. Some people believe that advances in technology are making children lazy, fat and more prone to ADHD. Others are worried that, because the Internet gives us the ability to access vast amounts of information instantly at our fingertips, children no longer need to memorize information or read books.
But there is good news! A recent study entitled “Google is changing your brain, study says, and don’t you forget it,” suggests that Google and other search engines are altering the way we remember, and it may not be a bad thing. I like to think of search engines as people’s external hard drives. Instead of memorizing the information, we remember where that information is stored. By leaving all the information on the web and accessing it when we need it, we have just freed up at least a couple gigabytes of space in our brain for creativity. Apparently, once we stop worrying about what year Columbus sailed the ocean blue, it is easier for us to think in abstract ways, daydream and foster new ideas.
So, although the human brain is altering how and what information we store, it is also opening up our minds to new creative opportunities. I can’t help but feel excited to see the new creative work that will be produced as a result. And of course, I will search for these amazing things using Google and never forget how to find them.
Photo credit: Rubiks Brain Sculpt by Jason Freeny