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British Inventor Criticizes 'Brain-Dead' Google Generation

By - Source: Daily Mail | B 44 comments

The internet, and Google specifically, is said to be making a new generation of children 'brain-dead'.

British inventor Trevor Baylis has claimed that the internet is making a new generation of children 'brain-dead' predominately due to the influence of Google.

The 75-year-old, who created the wind-up radio, says the current generation of kids are failing to learn practical skills and will subsequently be unable to create anything with their hands.

Baylis added that children are becoming overly reliant on instant Google searches, as well as expressing his concern for the next generation of inventors.

"Children have got to be taught hands-on, and not to become mobile phone or computer dependent. They are dependent on Google searches. A lot of kids will become fairly brain-dead if they become so dependent on the internet, because they will not be able to do things in the old-fashioned way."

Dr David Wood, a maths professor at Warwick University and Academic Leader of the International Gateway for Gifted Youth, disagreed with Baylis' comments.

"Far from dumbing down, from my point of view it is just the opposite. The internet is a tool and one with fantastic potential for kids if it is used properly. We use the internet to enable the brightest kids to link up with each other."

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  • 20 Hide
    spentshells , January 2, 2013 2:37 PM
    InvalidErrorI have always had poor memory for as far back as I can remember



    ROFL
  • 12 Hide
    InvalidError , January 2, 2013 2:18 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.
  • 12 Hide
    dalethepcman , January 2, 2013 2:31 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...
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    scifi9000 , January 2, 2013 2:11 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.
  • 12 Hide
    InvalidError , January 2, 2013 2:18 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.
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , January 2, 2013 2:21 PM
    The guy is a tool, he created a wind up radio and now believes his opinion matters!
  • -3 Hide
    Mastashake15 , January 2, 2013 2:28 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.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , January 2, 2013 2:28 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.
  • 12 Hide
    dalethepcman , January 2, 2013 2:31 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...
  • 2 Hide
    Bloob , January 2, 2013 2:36 PM
    Well, I do believe in the hands-on approach, but I'd have to agree with Dr Wood here.
  • 20 Hide
    spentshells , January 2, 2013 2:37 PM
    InvalidErrorI have always had poor memory for as far back as I can remember



    ROFL
  • 0 Hide
    mrmaia , January 2, 2013 2:37 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.
  • 3 Hide
    mauller07 , January 2, 2013 2:45 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.
  • 3 Hide
    LORD_ORION , January 2, 2013 2:45 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.
  • 1 Hide
    longshotthe1st , January 2, 2013 2:46 PM
    I take it the inventor hasn't listened to FM radio lately =D
  • 0 Hide
    mauller07 , January 2, 2013 2:48 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.
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , January 2, 2013 3:00 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.
  • 0 Hide
    igot1forya , January 2, 2013 3:03 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.
  • 0 Hide
    acadia11 , January 2, 2013 3:06 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.
  • 0 Hide
    gnesterenko , January 2, 2013 3:06 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.
  • 0 Hide
    rosen380 , January 2, 2013 3:09 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...
  • 1 Hide
    bystander , January 2, 2013 3:10 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.
  • 2 Hide
    JAYDEEJOHN , January 2, 2013 3:10 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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