Deep Blue and Angry Birds

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I've always been a bit too proud of my abilities as a googler.

I have to say that over the years I've gotten pretty good at hunting down tiny bits of information needed for schoolwork, or even just to satiate a particular curiosity into a subject I know little about. Useless trivia is just one of my things now. More than once, I've been sitting in Cooper Library fiddling through papers and flashcards, and the thought will cross my mind that there is no way I could have made it through college without a search engine, as the labor involved in hunting down texts for even just a tiny reference in a paper would have simply not been worth the opportunity cost of finding it. As English majors, I guess it's pretty easy for us to romanticize this labor-intensive hunt for information, but as caffeine-riddled scholars-in-training, a little help from a computer is more than welcome.

Yeah, no

It both frightens and fascinates me considering the potential generational tech-gap that may come as a result of these improvements in technology. Sure, as 'centaurs' we may be more optimized for tracking down information, but what of our abilities as critical thinkers once we get to that information? I might be a little pessimistic here, but the thought that our generation has been introduced to such extraordinary technologies from such a young age--and is therefore now capable of becoming experts in an inordinate number of fields--only uses them to fling little red birds at swine towers and 'keep up' with the Kardashians on Facebook or Twitter. That's not to say that games and social media aren't exciting ways of connecting people and doing business, but I think the most blatant advantages of the information super-highway have been lost to Millenials.

Turing would be proud

I think about this stuff more than I probably should, and am honestly a little weirded out that Clive Thompson has been able to do such a good job giving voice to them. Though I suppose it is only a matter of time until our brains are all connected to a cloud data system, anyways, so maybe I should get used to it.


kpyfrom's picture

I find myself using Google to

I find myself using Google to search for the tinniest bits of information as well. It seems so much easier to look for something on the internet, rather then searching through tons of books at the library. However I still do occasionally search for things at the library just because every once in a while it seems fun. I Love your post and found your information engaging! Thanks!
Keep up the great work!

abbycothran's picture


I enjoyed your blog post and think you bring up some really interesting points. I agree that a lot of people are seriously lacking critical thinking skills. On the flip side of information being so easily accessible, there are a lot of people who will believe anything that's posted on the internet. For example, twitter accounts that tweet "facts," and how many retweets the most obviously made up stuff gets, is pretty troubling. The internet is a huge tool for expanding knowledge, but so many people (myself included a lot of the time) don't take advantage of this.

kgthoma's picture

Over or Under?

I loved your blog. I thought that it was very funny and I loved the link about the toilet paper orientation. Over or under? Hmm. I guess I never thought about it. I also found it refreshing how you alluded to the fact that we sometimes use the advances in technology in somewhat of simple ways such as angry birds or following celebrities on social media (I do both of these, don't tell).

And I so agree with you that it frightens me a little bit too how much technology is evolving and how big of a role that it is playing in our lives. My uncle asked me on Sunday at family dinner if I could imagine leaving my phone at home and drive back to Clemson without it. My answer was, of course, no i could not imagine. What if my car broke down or got locked out of my apartment? He then reminded me that before we became so attached to technology, people dealt with things without a cell phone. Which seems crazy to me because I live in this technology-engrossed world.

I also related to your first paragraph where you discussed how helpful and necessary search engines are. I can't even think about getting through college without having the internet as a source for projects (or to look up all of the arguments for toilet paper orientation).

Over or under?
Kate Thomas

ckozma's picture

I respectively disagree

I think the idea that we are wasting away all of the amazing technology around us and not persevering to accomplish things is something that may need to be worked on individually. To say that we as a world have not come far in the millennium is a little harsh. Yes, I agree there will always be people that are not 'up to snuff' and sit around and do nothing. However, there are many more that are 'centaurs' and 'go-getters.' There are people that use the technology around us to make wonderful art or amazing innovations. Just a few months ago NASA recorded the sounds of space! Yes, we still have great lengths to go before we solve a lot of problems, but to say that everyone is wasting the technology is, I think, unjust.

clscott's picture

Sometimes I wonder if we're

Sometimes I wonder if we're more or less educated than our parents because of how easily we can access information. The internet lets you look up information whenever you want so you don't forget to look it up later, but looking it up makes it easier to get sidetracked learning about other things that you weren't looking for.
Yes, I think spreading information about Kim Kardashian "breaking the Internet" wastes more than just technology, but I think the benefits of the internet outweigh how it helps people waste time.