Does the internet make me stupid?

Not so far as I’ve noticed, but then, you could just be using big words to bewilder.

And part of me wants to say that it’s a fairly stupid question.

As I’ve said on here before. The internet is the biggest knowledge base ever created. It is possible to flick ones fingers and get a wealth of opinion and experience and information.

Of course much of it’s inaccurate, but normally no more so than one’s own memory. We learn quite quickly to filter distortion.

I think there’s a danger in the speed of things, but not in the field of intelligence. I think more information leads to less time spent thinking about it, which says something nasty about wisdom.

And then there’s the cats.

According to cyber-mythology, most of the internet is used by pornography, but according to experience, the majority is pictures of wide eyed animals.

Which can only be a risk factor for global efficiency.

I mean seriously, nothing is more useless that a person going ‘Awwww.’ The brain enters a non-functioning state unable to process anything but baby talk. This is a natural evolved response, an irrational response to cause the rational action of looking after our young and keeping the species evolve.

It isn’t suited to a time when these images are on tap.

If there were lolcats on the savannah, we would’ve all been eaten by things with oversized teeth, too distracted by things with oversized eyes. And our civilisation wouldn’t be the oversized monstrosity it is today.

I’m being disingenuous, of course.

The wasting time is what civilisation has built into. The march of progress has led us to a place where the best way for commerce to succeed is to train the people to be content to look at and absorb imagery. This keeps the advertising industry in business.

But it isn’t all apocalyptic anti-capitalist conspiracy theories.

Because there is the potential for community.

Hidden within the streams of memes and information is a vast network of actual real people. With real feelings beyond a love of cute little kittens.

It’s early days now, but given time the circuitry these adorable animals have built and reinforced could be used for something genuinely revolutionary.

The future can be brighter. The world can come together.

But we have to beware. To an extent, it is our responsibility not to get stupid. To keep asking questions.

We have to be wary of the information we receive even as we learn to absorb it better.

That way we can force these changes from the ground up, and hence decide what they are.

Mob rule is one thing. The wisdom of crowds another.

We need to learn to make a decision on that one; and learn how to do that too.

And it could be much much worse if we don’t keep from being stupid. We’ll be ceding control to those that just want us passive and quiet and spending.

That’d be a bad thing.


Illustration by Adam.


About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Questions by Alex P. Bookmark the permalink.

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