Technology makes us dumber

I got a new phone. In order to call my parents, I press a button, and then I say “mom and dad”, and it calls them for me. As I observed last week, Google allows dumb people to do things that they would otherwise be incapable of doing. And now my phone relieves me of even the mental exercise of pressing number buttons, and of remembering a phone number.

When I was teaching College Algebra, I became convinced that calculators were leading to dumber students being able to pass math classes. I am now becoming more and more convinced that computers in general are allowing dumber people to survive the evolutionary process, but that they are also making the rest of us dumber. I think I’m a pretty smart person, but I can’t remember my parents’ phone number, because I don’t have to. I have trouble writing (by hand) a page of text, because I have been typing so long that that much writing makes my hand cramp up. It’s really quite pathetic.

Of course, technology allows me to be physically unfit also, but that’s hardly a new thing. The phone just got me thinking. Or, perhaps, it enabled me not to have to think …