questionsdoes the internet make people smarter or dumber?

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Smart people get smarter. Dumb people get dumber.

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Quick access to answers is great, but it has also lessened our need to retain knowledge. Why bother remembering facts when you can pull them up in 2 seconds on your phone or computer? I think at first, it was a great tool to "make people smarter", but as reliance on it has grown, that has swung more towards the "make people dumber" side...

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I personally prefer to remember facts so I don't have to look them up all the time. On of my reasons for still have a dumb phone, I still prefer some mystery in my life. It makes it more interesting.

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To quote Henry Jones Sr., "I wrote it down so I wouldn't have to remember it!" The internet gives us ready access to a much wider variety of information than we had previously--it's basically like having a library packed into our pocket. (Mileage for non-smartphone-owners, like me, may vary.) With the internet available, we train different mental muscles than we used to use: less memorization and filing of facts, figures, names and dates; more search, retrieval and source assessment. Doesn't make us smarter or dumber any more than the development of television, the printing press, writing, agriculture or flint tools did--it just allows us to channel our intelligence differently.

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If I ever have a dumb moment I just hop over to Yahoo Answers and read the most recent questions. It makes me feel better knowing it could be much, much worse.

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It makes me feel smarter. Prior to having an internet connection I was limited to interaction with others by geography. Most people I knew were either "book smart" or "practical world smart" with select few being both. Of course there were also those who couldn't find their way out of a paper bag with a picture instruction manual, but they seemed the exception to the rule.

The internet has taught me that there is a brand and flavor of moron for every situation and station in life. By simply being aware of this, and making some small effort not to join their ranks, I feel smarter. I imagine it's similar to watching Hoarders. No matter how behind you are on housekeeping, seeing their mess is a reaffirmation that you're not doing so poorly after all.

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@sully51: I think there is a lot of merit to your answer. I know I unintentionally store less for recall later that I know I can find with a quick google search.

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My only major issue is the effects the Internet is having on younger generations. It's changing how people think of information.

That along with smartphones, I believe it will effect how people view instant gratification. It seems kids get bored way too quickly now, and expect things RIGHT NOW.

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@bogie21: I don't think the internet is at fault. Problems with the younger generation go back a little further than that.

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” - Socrates

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The internet is a tool, a utility. If you choose to learn to use it well, you can accomplish great things.

If you try to pound a hammer in with the wrong end of a hammer, it isn't the hammer that made you bad carpenter.

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Neither, the Internet gives one the opportunity to become more educated or more well-informed on certain subjects if one chooses to use it that way.

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@penrodius: not sure if you misspelled "dumber" on purpose or not....either way-FUNNY.

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I find both. It allows you to learn a bit on many more subjects due to the vast information available. Look at a site and see an interesting headline and read the article. Do that a few times a day and you learn a bit about a lot of different topics. But with that there is the flip side. Instead of finding a subject that seems interesting and reading a book or more extensive reading you can look at a site or 2 quick and feel like you know about it while never learning about it in depth.

When I am bored I find myself looking at a few different websites and reading any article that seems interesting. It has allowed me to be able to discuss conversationally on many different subjects which is great for a "cocktail party" or networking event to be able to speak on many subjects but I also find myself not being an expert in any one area. With the vast amount of information available I have found it more interesting to read a bit about something new rather then a lot on 1 subject.

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@morriea nailed it on this one. I couldn't say it better.

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@dogbountyhunter1: Uhhh and if you don't know the "facts" ? Doesn't really make sense.

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It depends how you use Internet? It just like a key.

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@morriea: I'm pretty sure that @penrodius did that on purpose, since he/she also spelled 'definitely' wrong in several places, also. ;-)