My boyfriend has a Rubik’s Cube in his apartment, which I just recently discovered. I couldn’t resist the temptation to mess it all up and figure out how to solve it myself. I had one as a child and I’m pretty sure I never actually figured out how to solve it. I do remember peeling off the stickers for each color and rearranging them so that I could “solve” the puzzle. Was I lazy? Probably, but if the Rubik’s Cube was as big a hit now as it was back then, everyone who had one would very easily be able to cheat. Why you ask? Cuz of the Internet.
Not only can you find written instructions telling you all about notations and algorithms that you can use to solve the puzzle, but you can find videos on Youtube showing you exactly how to solve it. All of this makes me wonder what will happen to the children who are growing up now in a world where you just Google things to find out how to do it. What will happen to intellectual curiosity and creativity? Of course, each generation has stood on the shoulders of the ones before and use what was learned previously to learn new things and improve the knowledge base of all mankind. But I’m worried that “Googling it” will change the way that we think about things and the way that we create new ideas. If a generation of our greatest thinkers become so enthralled with the ease of typing search words into the internet, will this speed up or slow down our rates of cognition.
My fear is that it will lead to laziness and complacency. What is the point of knowing all 50 states and their capitals if you can simply Google them?
And the fear goes beyond rote memorization. I was in the presence of an individual who Googled “how to schedule a meeting.” Is schedule minding as complicated as solving a Rubik’s Cube? Or are we just refusing to think things through on our own because our overlords at Google have made it so damn easy to find the answer at a few keystrokes?
I don’t know the answer to many of these questions, but I do know that I am worried. And I didn’t even have to Google it to find out.