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Is Technology Making Us Smarter or Dumber?

2015. március 23. - Kevin Jackson

I had a horrible dream that I woke up one day and my smartphone wasn’t there. After taking a deep breath, I furiously searched for my tablet. Unfortunately, I could not find it either. Finally, I sprinted to my laptop only to find that it was missing as well. A sense of panic shot up my spine as I suddenly realized that I was no longer digitally connected to my world. Now, take a moment and imagine what your reaction would be like. This scenario bring up very interesting questions regarding whether our dependence on technology is making us smarter or dumber.

Psychologists have identified two distinct parts of human intelligence: fluid and crystallized. Fluid intelligence represents our ability to acquire and process information, where our average ability has been increasing for decades. This is directly related to the digital age we live in and how we are exposed to greater amounts of complex data. I can distinctly remember the days when I shuffled through a dusty, old, card catalog to find the whereabouts of a particular book. It was entirely possible that the book was already checked out and that I would have to wait until someone returned it. Now, this same book can be simultaneously accessed by lots of people and this is clearly a benefit from technology.

Crystallized intelligence does not refer to our ability to collect information, but rather on our ability to use what we actually know. Due to all of our connected gadgets, we no longer feel the need to store data in our heads. The term “hyper link economy” describes a world where knowledge is only related to where information can be found. Advocates of technology argue that making students memorize lots of data that can easily be accessed digitally is a complete waste of time. Others will argue that our over dependence on technology is making us lazy and inviting us to use less and less of our natural brain capacity.

I am digitally connected to the world from the moment I wake up to the moment when I fall asleep. Is this because I absolutely cannot function offline during this time? No. Digital dependence goes way beyond need and can evolve into a bad habit. While I believe that technology has certainly made us smarter in many ways, at the same time it also makes us dumber as we often fail to look up from our screens and notice the world around us. 

For more information on technology making us smarter or dumber, please refer to the following articles:

Is Technology Making Us Stupid (and Smarter)?, Psychology Today, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, May 7th, 2013,  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mr-personality/201305/is-technology-making-us-stupid-and-smarter  

Are Our Smartphones Making Us Dumber?, Tech Cheat Sheet, Jess Bollyut, March 20th, 2015 (http://www.cheatsheet.com/technology/are-our-phones-making-us-dumber.html/?a=viewall)

Does Technology Makes Us Smarter Or Dumber?, CIO, Michael Friedenberg, March 28, 2013,  http://www.cio.com/article/2387382/leadership-management/does-technology-makes-us-smarter-or-dumber-.html

For more information about the Corvinus Global Business blogger, go to https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmjackson1.

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