A survey of web users and professionals found that a majority of them believe the internet is making us smarter, InformationWeek reports—although some critics believe internet use is zapping our critical thinking skills. The web-based survey of nearly 900 prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers, and technology developers found that three out of four believe the internet “enhances and augments” human intelligence. In addition, two-thirds of the respondents said the internet also improves reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge. The survey was conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University in North Carolina and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The poll was motivated by tech scholar and analyst Nicholas Carr’s 2009 Atlantic Monthly magazine cover story, entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” In a response to the survey, Carr stuck by his original argument that the internet shifts the emphasis of people’s intelligence away from meditative or contemplative intelligence and more toward what he called “utilitarian intelligence.” “The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking,” said Carr, who participated in the survey. Other participants disagreed, such as Craig Newmark, founder of Craigs’s List, who said people use Google as an adjunct to their own memory. Respondent David Ellis, a professor at York University in Toronto, said that instead of making people stupid, Google was reinforcing intellectual laziness among people satisfied with the top 10 or 15 listings from search queries…

Click here for the full story

About the Author:

staff and wire services reports