Google Isn’t Just Making Us Stupid; It’s Making Us Fat!

Jun 12th, 2008 | By | Category: General

Nicholas Carr, in the Atlantic this month, makes the case that Google, and the Internet in general, is making us stupid:

“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. 

I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after.

As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.

My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

While Carr makes an interesting case, his argument can be turned around. 10 years ago, he spent days floundering around to find what he wanted. Now he finds it in minutes, processing information much more efficiently and productively. 

If Google Isn’t Making Us Stupid, Is It Making Us Fat?

While Carr’s article is interesting, I’m much more convinced by the idea that Google, and the Internet in general, is making us fat. 

According to recent research by Solutions Research Group, Americans in Web-enabled homes have increased their hours spent watching video by 30% in the last ten years.

  • Today, these people view an average of 6.1 hours daily of media content, spanning TV, video-on-demand, videogames, PCs, DVDs and mobile video;
  • In 1996, that number was 4.6 hours.
During that same time, obesity in the US has increased dramatically.
If you’ve got the Internet at your house, you’re probably sitting on your duff using it several hours a day – hours when you might have previously been active. 
Solutions Research projects that total hours spent with video entertainment will grow 35% to eight hours per day by 2013. That growth will be primarily spurred by new media technologies. 

People’s Web and mobile video time will jump from its current one hour per day to about 2.9 hours by 2013. That will be expected to be driven by expanding use of laptops and other mobile devices, such as iPhones.

With clear trends like these, it’s clear that the Internet making us stupid is much less of a concern than the fact that the Internet, and computer-based media in general, is making us fat. 

Image: Kim & Amy


Tags: , ,

No Responses to “Google Isn’t Just Making Us Stupid; It’s Making Us Fat!”

  1. chloe says:

    aka… stop reading this, get of ur arse and go do something. gonna take my own advice, cya!

Leave a Reply