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British Inventor Criticizes 'Brain-Dead' Google Generation

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January 2, 2013 2:11:18 PM

err...no... just no. I fail to see how getting instant results to questions stifles invention? Sure, research skills may suffer, but then again, not really, as proper research still needs to be done to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of quality and accuracy of responses. If anything, this should enable even more curiosity. And doing things with hands.. that's just something you need to do if you want to get things into the real world from out of your head.... that's not going to change too much in a hurry, and if the likes of 3D printing does put an end to skilled craftsmen, that would be a shame, but I think arts will continue... just maybe in another form.
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January 2, 2013 2:18:15 PM

I have always had poor memory for as far back as I can remember and that would be all the way back to before I even knew the internet existed, before I even owned my first dial-up modem.

While relying on Google to look stuff up may mean I'm screwed if I'm stuck in a situation where I need to know something I forgot, not having to periodically review tons of stuff I may never need to use entirely for the sake of just trying to remember it does free me up to learn other stuff that I may be more likely to need instead.

So I agree with the other guy: Google doesn't make kids dumber. Used correctly, it enables them to spend more time focusing on the actual problem they want to solve.
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 2:21:28 PM

The guy is a tool, he created a wind up radio and now believes his opinion matters!
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January 2, 2013 2:28:03 PM

I don't agree with everything he's saying, but one thing that is for sure is that we are headed on a dangerous road with the tech we are coming up with. Nanochips inserted into our brains, computers that are smarter and more powerful than us, it won't be long before we can't even function without them. We will build technology so fast that we as consumers won't be able to imagine a world without it, and if it ever fails or is taken away, we will return to the dark ages. I think at this point right now in time, we have gone as far as we need to go for a long while with tech. Maybe after another 50 years or so we will be smart enough to continue and develop.
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 2:28:30 PM

I wonder how technologically versed this 75-year old is actually. I mean, how much time has he actually spent on a computer or mobile device. How plugged in is he? Lets sit him infront of a computer and see how "brain dead" he is when it comes to using a device he apparently knows so much about.

The internet can be used to speed up the process of learning, simply put. It can also be used to market something you created with your own two hands.
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January 2, 2013 2:31:51 PM

As an inventor, I would hope he would be more open minded to the potential benefits, but I can imagine my grandfather saying the same thing, and in a sense they are correct. Children can access the internet and use it to do all their thinking for them, but that kind of person was never destined to be an inventor.

The way I see things, the internet has enabled people to be more innovative and imaginative. We no longer need to look up research publications to see if we remembered someones theory correctly, we can have previous designs instantly available and think of possible ways to enhance them or redesign them completely without needing to devote 20 years of our life memorizing everything in existence. This enables us to "go with the flow" and let our brains continue along a spark of genius.

At some point in the past, I can imagine someone probably said the same thing about a some other inventions. "writing if for the weak of mind, you should just pass down all your knowledge via oral history." "Calculators are making people bad at math, everyone should have a slide rule burned into their memory." "Ugh no need make spear from rock and stick, Ugh kill fine with rock" etc etc etc...
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January 2, 2013 2:36:07 PM

Well, I do believe in the hands-on approach, but I'd have to agree with Dr Wood here.
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January 2, 2013 2:37:13 PM

InvalidErrorI have always had poor memory for as far back as I can remember



ROFL
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January 2, 2013 2:37:54 PM

Old people will always tend to bad mouth everything new they can't bother to learn.

The Internet is the most powerful knowledge sharing tool that ever existed, and Google is quite the glue that holds it together. If it's killing brains, it's no more than TV has done for decades before computers were even invented.
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January 2, 2013 2:45:19 PM

I do not agree with him, if instant information makes people dumb than what is his opinion on a library's catalogue system?

Its not instant information that is reducing the overall thinking abilities of people but the lack of teaching people to think creatively, some people can just intuitively think creatively and have an environment which has nurtured it.

the education systems overall have reduced the thinking abilities of people overall when they became target focused and box ticking with students learning how to write down the correct answers for a syllabus exam rather than applying what they have been taught and being taught creatively.

critical thinking is not creative thinking, its more like learning how to shoot people down rather than work off each others ideas and its because of an emphasis on this part of creative thinking that's stifling creative thinking as people don't want to come out with ideas for how they believe others will react.

lookup Edward de bono, he has many good books on creative thinking and many of his techniques should be school curriculum.
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January 2, 2013 2:45:24 PM

Ridiculous...

Managing limitless knowledge and harnessing it to achieve goals simply requires a longer maturity cycle.

If anything, the upcoming generations will achieve greater things once the idiot baby boomers get out of the way and stop meddling.
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January 2, 2013 2:46:19 PM

I take it the inventor hasn't listened to FM radio lately =D
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January 2, 2013 2:48:30 PM

critical thinking is not creative thinking, its more like learning how to shoot people down rather than work off each others ideas, its this part of critical thinking that's stifling creative thinking as people don't want to come out with ideas for how they believe others will react.

made some mistakes, makes it easier to read now, half insomniated with exams in a week and hours of revision lol.
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January 2, 2013 3:00:23 PM

I think he's on to something. Really, nowadays few people seem to be able to think on their own. Education is tedious because it is about process not results. It is the same of invention. Any invention has usually come after countless failures. But generation after generation now has become entirely focused on the end result, not the process of getting there which is of the greatest importance. I've seen cases of people who don't even know basic, basic, information that my generation used to learn in elementary and middles school (and I'm only 25).

Now, it's not a steep slope of decay. The rate of this change I don't think is as severe as it could be. But one has to wonder where it is leading.

Look at this example; what have most of the innovations been? For the most part they've been on the hardware side. But they've been ideas that have been theorized for a long time. They weren't completely new ideas someone made happen, they were old ideas that were finally made to work. But what of the software side, the side that requires more immediately innovative thought? We are in a great time where scientific questions we've had for decades have been answered after long and hard work. But it doesn't seem like newer generations are asking anymore big questions. They Google their question, find an answer (which they have little clue whether it is right or not) and stop there. There are fewer and fewer who are taking the ball from there and running with it.
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January 2, 2013 3:03:30 PM

In the world I come from, necessity is the mother of invention. If I can't Google the answer (the cumulative wealth of knowledge far exceeds any one man or group of men, btw), then we start to invent a solution. Which is pretty much how this generation's dumb people are still twice as intelligent as last generation's smart people (note that IQ ratings have been revised due to the expanding wealth of information). He's probably pissed because the search engine has in less than 20 years invalidated the last 10,000 years of re-inventing the wheel over and over again. How many times have innovations been repeated and how many people have wasted their energies creating something that someone else has already perfected. The answer is countless times. No, the truly smart people consult other smart people (either peer search or search engine) first before they take action. Then if no answer exists, you move forward and innovate/invent a solution to your problem.
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January 2, 2013 3:06:44 PM

Why would I open up an outdated encyclopedia britannica when I can just do a google search for the latest research in particle physicals? I understand if for some reason the world had an apocolyptic moment and all the computers stop working what he said would be true, but then again, if that happened likely most people wouldn't know how to farm their own food , much less be worried about trying to figure out how to use Encyclopedia Britannica.
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January 2, 2013 3:06:58 PM

What a load of bull.
A) Google allows me to do things hands-on that I don't have the time or resources to learn the "old-fashioned way". Did my entire car audio install, everything from speakers/hu/sub/wiring myself, with no training or help, based entirely on information found via Google.

B) Even if he's right, what is it exactly that's wrong with being reliant on technology. It's evolution. Embrace it, or accept your obsolence.
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January 2, 2013 3:09:48 PM

So lets say that having tools like Google does stifle invention to some degree-- what about 100+ years ago when schooling might have taken a back seat to the family farm or an apprenticeship? things seemed to get invented for a long time when only a very small number of people had access to higher learning...
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January 2, 2013 3:10:11 PM

I grew up before computers were in the home, and have grown up through its growth. I can only say what my experience is, but what I've found is since I can easily look up directions on how to do stuff online, I do a lot of things I otherwise would never do. I have found internet searches have opened the door to learning more things than I otherwise would have.

I am a little concerned about social behavior, however. People would rather text someone than talk to them.
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January 2, 2013 3:10:59 PM

Cut down the numbers by having people get entertained/learned thru the internet vs using your imagination with whats around you and you can start to see where he is coming from
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January 2, 2013 3:17:04 PM

JAYDEEJOHNCut down the numbers by having people get entertained/learned thru the internet vs using your imagination with whats around you and you can start to see where he is coming from

The internet, at least from my perspective, may open the door to imagination. Most ideas come from being inspired by other ideas. The internet exposes us to many things we'd never have thought of without it. While I do understand where he is coming from, I think he is wrong.
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January 2, 2013 3:41:42 PM

acadia11Why would I open up an outdated encyclopedia britannica when I can just do a google search for the latest research in particle physicals?

I think Baylis' point was more along the line that if people rely almost entirely on external sources for information (online, encyclopedia, books, etc.) rather than learn and remember stuff, they become helpless when said information supply gets cut off.

Baylis' problem is not so much "internet makes people stupid" as it is "easy access to information makes people increasingly dependent on easy access to information".

In this case, his point is valid but worded completely wrong with bad examples.
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January 2, 2013 3:45:31 PM

I strongly disagree with the Inventor. When MS Word came out it was predicted that people would lose the ability to spell. I had difficulty with spelling before MS Word. Having something in front of me that informed me of my mistakes as I was making them and providing the correct response taught me to spell to a much higher level. Google tells people what they need to know when they ask any question at any time. Before the Internet if one did not know something then it required a trip to the library which would generally never happen. I believe when books went mainstream critics said that people would not remember things and that has turned out to be far from the truth.
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January 2, 2013 3:46:20 PM

InvalidErrorI have always had poor memory for as far back as I can remember and that would be all the way back to before I even knew the internet existed . . .


Actually I'd call that a pretty good memory :-)

Hmmm, let me see, what was this article about again ? ;-)

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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 4:05:28 PM

What needs to be understood is that studies have proven you will remember what tool to use in order to get the job done. If Google is that tool, instead of analytical thinking (IE: Using your knowledge to find out the root of a problem) then you will constantly go to google for that information. Once google is gone, and for his arguement...i assume all search engines, the majority of the younger generation will not be able to find out how to acquire the knowledge to fix any issues they may be experiencing.

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January 2, 2013 4:25:33 PM

kids probably read more now because of the internet than they would have without it...

i thought myself to read because of video games when i VERY young, and ever sense than i have had as teachers put it, above average reading comprehension.

with math, you know why i got bad grades?
i never did homework.
2-3 weeks of 50-100 problems a day and than a test...
i did as little homework as i had to and relied on getting an A on the test, which i almost always did...
in trig i never did a piece of homework, but learned all i needed to the day before a test, i got anywhere from a c to a low a, but i was constantly among the top of class on test results.

internet has made me smarter, and before that, videogames... how many 5 year olds do you know that could read a full magazine and comprehend almost everything they read?
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January 2, 2013 4:41:22 PM

is there a saying sign of true intelligence is knowing how little you know?

Google can be helpful but you still need to sort through all the results and find information you need...

you still need "intelligence" to know the difference between fact and fiction...
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January 2, 2013 5:14:28 PM

The old man is probably just cranky because he couldn't get his email set up :) 
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 5:19:17 PM

I wouldn't call it brain dead, just dependant. But in the style of Darth Vader, "Your Google Searches are insignificant next to the power of the mind."
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 5:23:02 PM

Have You tried do do any academic research with Google! Google is an unmanaged Heap of weblinks to mostly superfical/anecdotal information Via the outright misleading Tags, that every click bait webiste loads their HTML with, to obfuscate the researcher from the desired information, so as to lead the user through as many shopping Isles as possible before, If ever, that user finds the nessary academic materal! I use the public library's online portal to the standard research databases that have been around much longer than Google!
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 5:27:47 PM

FIX do do with to do! Although like the dodo, useful information appears to be going that way on Google!
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January 2, 2013 5:42:43 PM

alidankids probably read more now because of the internet than they would have without it...i thought myself to read because of video games when i VERY young, and ever sense than i have had as teachers put it, above average reading comprehension.with math, you know why i got bad grades? i never did homework. 2-3 weeks of 50-100 problems a day and than a test... i did as little homework as i had to and relied on getting an A on the test, which i almost always did...in trig i never did a piece of homework, but learned all i needed to the day before a test, i got anywhere from a c to a low a, but i was constantly among the top of class on test results.internet has made me smarter, and before that, videogames... how many 5 year olds do you know that could read a full magazine and comprehend almost everything they read?

You're (almost) a good example of what the old man was saying. Try doing the tests again a month (or two) later without studying a day before and see what the results are.

People will skip learning the fundamentals if they can get the answers to complex problems online. The process of learning from the ground up seems tedious for the today's youth. Ask them to multiply 5 digit numbers with a calculator and they will give you the answer easily. Give them a pen and paper and you'd get a blank stare.

Better wise than smart... especially when your 'smarts' isn't yours.
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January 2, 2013 6:19:08 PM

Solution: Get a Verizon Google phone. You can Google stuff anywhere. Seems like every other network blows and has too many dead areas. Go brain-dead never again!
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 6:32:13 PM

This just in, crotchety old guy makes sweeping generalization of younger generation!
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January 2, 2013 7:19:30 PM

..and at the end of the interview he shouted, "Hey, get off my lawn!"
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January 2, 2013 8:00:38 PM

Reading this just makes me think about what Douglas Adams said about the internet:

Quote:
I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.
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January 2, 2013 8:33:20 PM

Somehow I think he mistook Google for Facebook.
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 9:42:56 PM

Trevor Baylis needs to adjust the onion on his belt, and pull up boot straps.
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Anonymous
January 2, 2013 11:52:53 PM

I understand both their points. However, my education only started after I graduated college. It was only through the Internet that I understood real politics, real business, and REAL life instead of the bullshit that was fed to me. If my education were only 'school' then I would be a mindless zombie right now. The biggest problem are uninformed zombies being led by selfish politicians and corporations. These same fools are raising uninformed zombie kids. The Internet SAVED me and millions of others from that fate. The Internet is a tool. Some will choose to search for jokes, while others will invent a way to quickly sequence genomes on the cheap.

However, I do see the dependence on "blackboxes" like calculators and Google as a huge downside. People MUST learn the basics. I feel that there are certain skills that should always be taught to perfection - reading, writing, math, logic, interpersonal skills etc. The world wide web is a perfect place for reference material. It just increases your efficiency to the maxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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January 3, 2013 3:25:46 AM

tanjoYou're (almost) a good example of what the old man was saying. Try doing the tests again a month (or two) later without studying a day before and see what the results are. People will skip learning the fundamentals if they can get the answers to complex problems online. The process of learning from the ground up seems tedious for the today's youth. Ask them to multiply 5 digit numbers with a calculator and they will give you the answer easily. Give them a pen and paper and you'd get a blank stare.Better wise than smart... especially when your 'smarts' isn't yours.


a few years later actually, and i still remember the basics of how to do it, better than most people retain their math skills at least.

i help my little brother with his homework now, thats why i know.

the fundamentals as you put it were weeks of 50-100 problems a day, nothing but a pointless time sink, especially to people who grasp how you get something the day you teach it to them.

hell the classes where my grades were the best were the ones where i had a practical use for the information, take chemistry for example. we did a lab every single day, and did more or less the same crap we learned in the beginning all year, yet it never once became tedious for me, because i could see how the crap i was doing applied.

now go you math where we got a few hundred problems like this Y=2+3((X^2)-3) when Y equals 5. problems like that i can do in my head, and i believe it comes to X=2 yet i had to show about 7 lines of work showing how i got it, and i'm not lying when i said they gave us anywhere from 50-100 of these a day, tedious work for someone who is already ready to learn what happens next.
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January 3, 2013 7:54:38 AM

Mastashake15I don't agree with everything he's saying, but one thing that is for sure is that we are headed on a dangerous road with the tech we are coming up with. Nanochips inserted into our brains, computers that are smarter and more powerful than us, it won't be long before we can't even function without them. We will build technology so fast that we as consumers won't be able to imagine a world without it, and if it ever fails or is taken away, we will return to the dark ages. I think at this point right now in time, we have gone as far as we need to go for a long while with tech. Maybe after another 50 years or so we will be smart enough to continue and develop.


You're horribly lethally wrong in my opinion. We don't have a choice but to improve technology. If science and technology do not advance at a sufficiently high rate then humanity will descend into an apocalypse. I'd say we are getting closer to this dystopia rather than utopia judging by the recent changes in the world economy. Hopefully, Ray Kurzweil getting hired by Google will help turn us around.
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January 3, 2013 8:33:51 AM

Mastashake15I don't agree with everything he's saying, but one thing that is for sure is that we are headed on a dangerous road with the tech we are coming up with. Nanochips inserted into our brains, computers that are smarter and more powerful than us, it won't be long before we can't even function without them. We will build technology so fast that we as consumers won't be able to imagine a world without it, and if it ever fails or is taken away, we will return to the dark ages.


Actually, we are ALREADY at that stage. The stock exchanges, banks and other organisations that control the flow of money are highly dependent on computers. If a massive unrecoverable failure were to occur, all your money in your bank could disappear just like that. Of course, the chance of that happening is very, very slim.
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January 3, 2013 12:51:36 PM

Why learn and memorize things when you can just google them when you need it?

That's what goes in the heads of kids of today
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January 3, 2013 1:07:08 PM

The only skill kids have today is how to type key words into google and then copy-paste.
No wonder the average IQ is dropping.
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