The question asked yesterday on Toronto’s CBC Metro Morning radio program was:
“Are our SmartPhones making us stupid?”
My interest was piqued. I was going to enjoy listening to this conversation which began right after the 6:00 a.m. news. Hopefully it would see me through my half hour drive home from work.
I was all ears.
The discussion that followed came from people advocating that our SmartPhones are making us stupid. They claim that those of us who use our SmartPhones to google general knowledge questions are getting soft in the brain. They believe that by not working out problems in our head we are diminishing our ability to think.
When I was growing up, my parents did their best to provide me with encyclopedias so that I would always have easy access to information for my schoolwork.
Did anyone question the necessity of these books by arguing that getting the answers was just too easy because all you have to do is look it up alphabetically?
There was a similar argument made in the 1970’s when pocket calculators hit the scene.
Schools immediately began to ban them from classrooms saying that it is important to know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide using only your brain, pencil and paper.
That argument did not live to see the end of the decade.
Albert Einstein said that…
“It’s not important to know all the answers.
However, it’s important that you know where to find them.
It’s empowering to have the ability to answer just about any question imaginable simply by looking it up on the Internet.
On a whim, I can look up any person, place, song, quote and book.
How can this possibly be a bad thing?
In the Star Trek television series we saw futuristic devices that enhanced communication, education, and quality of life. They enabled people to solve really big life and death situations quickly and efficiently.
I remember thinking to myself… “Wow, isn’t that an incredible device. I wonder if I’ll ever have one in my lifetime?”
Well, many of those devices have been created and are now a part of our daily lives.
One of my Father’s favourite sayings was:
“We grow too soon old…
And too late smart.”
Certainly, when using old world tools such as paper and pen, it took a very long time to solve major problems.
Let me be clear…
I have no qualms with the people of this earth getting smarter faster.
We certainly have a great many global problems that need solutions now…
…While there’s still time.