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Cheryl Cran

Welcome to the Future of Work blog – this is where you will find posts on all things related to the future of work.

We have guest bloggers that include CIO’s, Behavioral Scientists, CEO’s, Data Scientists including posts by our founder Cheryl Cran.

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2 Ways That Google Is Making Us All Smarter

July 20, 2011

The Science Journal published this past Friday asserts that Google is making us all smarter. The human brain is reorganizing the way it uses information by sorting between what it needs to know and where it can go to get readily accessible information. Many boomers have generalized that today’s youth have lost the art of ‘reading, writing and arithmetic’ but the reality of today’s technology means that they don’t really need to know these things.

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In fact Google is helping to increase the brains plasticity and ability to organize data. By knowing where to go for information the brain is becoming selective, the report in the Science Journal states that when people know that information they have gathered can never be accessed it will commit the information to memory. However we no longer have the need to store excess data that we know we can access through our computers. The research proved that people are better at remembering where to find facts, rather than the facts themselves.

Today’s students remember where the information is stored rather than the information itself.

The two ways that Google is making us all smarter are:

#1- Google has created a mental dependence on instant access to information- this is making us all smarter. The articles and edits on Wikipedia represent around 100 million hours of human labor. That’s more than 11,400 years. The research proves that the Internet is an expanded network of people. Prior to the Internet we went to our network of contacts to ask them for the information we were seeking.

#2- By no longer taxing the brain with having to remember or recite we are actually freeing up brain space for more creative thinking. A wired life opens the potential for the brain to create. Phychologists have long known that it is easier to grasp an abstract concept when the barin is not fixated on memorizing facts.

The question to ask ourselves is, “why remember something if I know I can look it up again? ” With Google and the Internet we are outsourcing our memory loads.

It will be interesting to see future studies on how the technology is further altering our work and lifestyles. In the past if we had to remember something we would rack our brains and it could drive us crazy- now we simply do a Google search and we can relax in knowing the answer immediately.