Sure, there are plenty of examples of how technology has made life easier, more convenient, and has proven to be helpful, but has it made us smarter? I would like to argue that technology has, in fact, NOT made us smarter but the opposite.
Technology has made life too easy, too convenient, and too helpful. Yes, it helps us navigate unfamiliar streets, find that perfect cookie recipe, diagnose ourselves (often inaccurately) online, and it got us to the moon, but what effect has it had on us cognitively, physically, and psychologically?
The article “What is Brain Plasticity and Why is it so Important?” from the news organization called The Conversation talks about Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – which is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself. The article describes why neuroplasticity is important to the development of the brain, but the takeaway for the sake of this blog is – your brain is a muscle. Like our physical muscles, the motto “use it or lose it” applies.
For example, since our brain has the ability to rewire, we are losing that self-navigational ability. Raise your hand if you’ve consistently used the GPS to get to the same location.
Due to the over-use of technology, it has caused us to reduce physical activity (leading to obesity and related health issues), to have poorer posture (which can lead to musculoskeletal issues), sleep problems, and eye strain.
Jon Johnson wrote in his article published by the newsletter Medical News Today, “Negative Effects of Technology: What to Know”, that technology can lead to isolation. He wrote “A 2017 study in young adults aged 19–32 years found that people with higher social media use were more than three times as likely to feel socially isolated than those who did not use social media as often.”
The convenience of technology has made us over-reliant on its use. In some cases, this has turned into an addiction. The use of technology can be addicting. It can be distracting. It can make us less productive. We retain less information. It affects our concentration. It has a negative impact on our social skills. It intrudes upon classroom learning.
Considering these factors, we can conclude that although technology can be useful, it is making us dumber.