Humans used to take pride in knowing all kinds of things, in being able recall information about things, in spelling words, in understanding concepts.

I was good at this — Hey, I used to be my own Google.

That was then.

Why would anyone want to remember any information any more?  Why does anyone need this ability… other than when watching Jeopardy?  Or winning at Trivial Pursuit.

Knowing things is not what it is all about.  Now you just have to know where to look to find them.  And that usually simply starts with Googling.  The company that went from a brand to a verb in less than ten years.

The recalling information playing field has levelled for everybody because of Google.

Ask someone a question like “What’s the capital of the country of Ivory Coast?  You don’t even need to know that there is a country.  You just whip out your smart phone and within a few seconds you know that the answer is it used to be “Abidjan” and now it is “Yamoussoukro.”

What does this mean for humanity?  Why remember things?  Why know things?  What’s the point of taxing your brain when you can get it on the internet in seconds.

So memorization of facts may become obsolete and playing games like Trivial Pursuit could be won in the future with: “How do you spell Google?”

But there is a good reason for remembering facts and learning why and how things work without relying on Google or Wikipedia.  There are many reasons for learning about the world and being able to speaking knowledgeably about history, geography and politics without having to rely on your smartphone.

If we lose our ability to recall facts, our brains will not be fully utilized and our reasoning ability would be compromised.  Studies have shown that using your brain is what keeps it healthy.  Lack of use brings atrophy and we suffer from lazy brain the same way cars and television have brought about reduced physical activity and then obesity.

In a democracy, educated citizens are critical to survival of freedom.

So in case you have noticed that a lot of people are pretty lazy about being educated these days, perhaps one of the culprits is Google.

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