Does the Internet make you smarter? to be honest, is a popular search term on Google shared by millions of people around the globe. Going by the Search engines parlance, this is a long keyword and the search trend for this keyword is rising.
After all, all of us, if not some of us have spent half of our lives surfing on the internet. My 8-year-old daughter is no newcomer either to the internet. Just like other eight-year-olds on this planet, she spends about 3-4 hours a week watching Youtube and playing games on the internet. Well, I decided to gather some information.
Does the Internet make you smarter? the straight answer is, Yes.
Logging on could spark a little bit of genius in all of us. When you bounce your thoughts and share your knowledge with others, there is every chance that new ideas can come into this world.
Thinking is not solo anymore
But there still exists some contradictions on this subject around the world. Probably in the past, thinking alone and gazing at the stars would result in a sudden epiphany of sorts, a flash, a spark or a light bulb moment. Well, that was the past. A popular belief that emerged partly from passed on stories and life histories of some of the inventors.
Increasingly, there is research pointing out that new ideas and innovations do not stem from a single moment of euphoric thought but from bouncing and successive iteration of ideas over a period of time.
It all starts with a slow hunch says Steven Johnson, the author of the best-selling book “Where do good ideas com from”, you can find his TED talk show here. And still Clive Thomson, the author of the popular book “Smarter than you think” is very optimistic on the use of social media. A good review on the book can be found here from Newyork Times.
You can also read our blog post: The age of social media: Our participation makes it a way of life
The current trend of using social media for mere trivia and gossip would change. Instead, people would find interesting and creative ways to spend their time on the internet. This includes thinking differently and solving new problems by sharing and bouncing ideas with each other.
There is nothing to fear from Facebook and Twitter.
Associate trails of the web is analogous to the human brain
Tim Berners-Lee created the internet architecture. The simplicity and the beauty of the Web lie in its interconnected hypertext Webpages. The web pages are connected through a primary channel called the link.
Lee, however, drew some of his ideas for the web from the Memex. The Memex was an information storage system that was first described by the inventor, Vannevar Bush. The system works analogously to how the human brain works.
Just as how the human brain indexes new ideas and information through associative memory for later use, the internet system connects information web pages through certain cues (Hypertext links) thereby creating associative trails for ease of access and for later use. This brings us to understand a bit on how ideas pop up in our brain.
The human brain network is as complex as the internet
As Steve Johnson talks about it in his book, any idea that pops out of our consciousness is a work of millions of neurons in our brain all firing in sync with each other to produce an idea.