Is Smart Technology Making us Dumb?

My view point on this topic is somewhat split, however I believe that the view that best represents my main view is that smart technology is making us dumb. Now even though I say this, I fully enjoy and find great use in smart technology, however, I agree with the statement, however not the full meaning of it. But I’ll get back to that later. I agree with this side saying that there is a growing dependence on smart technology that can be unwise and unhealthy for our worlds future. This growing reliance on our smart phones to have an answer when we’re just too lazy to look it up in a textbook is a dangerous thing. Like Andrew Keen said, it will be the death of newspapers and the death of profound thinking. I can say that I have used smart devices for answers instead of trying to figure out the answers myself. It’s easy and fast and I don’t have to truly worry that it will be the wrong answer… except that it could be wrong or deceiving… which is another question for later. Smart technology is dangerous when we are so addicted to it and it is compulsive and we don’t even think about how much we depend on a machine.  The point I agreed with most on this side was about the effect on our brains. The part when Nick Carr was discussing long and short term memory as well as memory consolidation was particularly interesting to me. Because we have this unlimited access to all information, we take it all in without actually learning anything. Our brains get overloaded and we become frustrated when the world is too slow for our fast-paced society. As a collective people, our intelligence is less even though smart information is more spread out. Mr. Sherlock Holmes said that “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones” (A quote from A Study in Scarlet). With smart technology, we lap up all the useless information and call ourselves smart because our machine told us so. Back to believing that smart technology makes us dumb… I think maybe there should be a different term, unless we are dumb for allowing technology that we created to turn around and control us, but otherwise… Dumb means unintelligent and ignorant. I don’t think stupid people created these marvels but I think with smart technology we become smart in the wrong things and dumb in terms of things that actually matter. I concede that I myself am like this, however like F. Scott Fitzgerald said, true intelligence is being able to hold two ideas at the same time and not go crazy. He said that one should be able to see that things are bad but still try to make things right. Smart technology gives us the illusion that we are smarter than we think we are and that we are perfect, but we must prove it.

The other side of the argument does have valid points that I even agree with, however that I could point out their flaws in their thinking. The other side was about how smart technology is like the new golden age and the renaissance of growth and knowledge, which I concede is true, considering the great advancements and achievements. I do not doubt the improvements as they are clear. The improvements in medical possesses that have saved lives, and the ability to gain more information faster as to know what’s going on, as well as exceeding the people’s ability to have their freedom of speech and reach a great amount of people. Their arguments were about proving that smart technology is not dumb… but the question was if its making the people dumb. I concede that we’ve come a long way, but it’s because of the technology that is way above us. This side kept saying that special telescopes are being created and other devices to make work easier, however, it’s the technology that’s getting smarter, not us. Yes, someone had to be smart enough to invent it, but perhaps they didn’t even understand. Yes, we’re getting better at work, but we’re also losing our jobs to machines. Yes, we understand more, but who is it actually helping? I agree with their argument against, saying it’s all about fear, but fear is important because it keeps us alive. David Weinberger said that smart technology allows us to do smart things, but shouldn’t we learn ourselves to do smart things; smart actions, wise actions, noble and pure actions. He said in this age children are able to read and analyze books and understand the world because of the internet, which I agree with except where does that put the geniuses of our time that came before smart technology? Men like Plato and Socrates were able to analyze and observe the world for what it was and have the most profound thoughts about the universe without smart technology. If we have to rely on smart technology to have profound thoughts, then aren’t we “dumb”? Instead of thinking for ourselves, we let our smart technology think for us while it pours nonsensical information into our minds.

I do believe that some people easily believe anything they see or read on the internet. One thinks that because something looks official and is posted online, that it must be credible. Classes today in schools are teaching kids how to find credible and reliable sources as to know the difference. The problems that could ensure because people believe all that they see, and when it is biased, is that false rumors will be spread and lives will be ruined.

Works Cited

“A quote from A Study in Scarlet.” Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

Smart technology is making us dumb: A debate [Video file]. (2015). Retrieved May 2, 2017,



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