The paper “ How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think Today and in the Future” is a pathetic variant of an essay on information technology. The internet is one of the biggest inventions ever made by mankind. Nonetheless, not even an invention such as printing has managed to alter and transform the manner human lives today as the internet. It is no doubt that access to information is a critical process in day-to-day activities (Greenemeier 2013, p. 84). The internet has managed to penetrate every aspect of human activities that the world would stop at a standstill if the internet disappeared at any one time.
Everything has been made easier through the sharing, speed, and amount of ideas or information found on the internet (Greenemeier 2013, p. 84). Nonetheless, with the high rate of adoption and transformation, it is not clear who the internet has changed or is changing the way we think as well as how we will think in the future. The following paper aims at researching the ideas or explanations on how the internet is changing today’ s thinking and how it will change thinking in the future. Understanding the InternetThe internet is perhaps one of the most complex technological inventions of today.
It has the ability to transport information within seconds from one corner of the globe to another. This seamless ability is based on a background of computers, wires, satellites, and machines that common users cannot see and have no knowledge of (Brockman 2010, p. 11). The internet is described as an interconnection numerous computers through a network with the ability to transport and transmit information worldwide. It is a global network connecting billions of devices that use similar and diverse technologies and functions.
The internet features millions of academic, private, government, and business switched networks that are connected through a wide collection of optical, wireless, and electronic technologies. The internet is almost as complex as the human nervous system, which has been used to describe or explain electronic communications. Many of the early inventors such as Samuel Morse or H. G Wells attributed communication technologies such as the internet to a pool of intelligent information or a world brain (Brockman 2010, p.
15). The internet has become a depot or central storage house for knowledge and ideas to be shared around the world. With this ability and potential, the internet has made every day living easier from businesses, schools, governments, and even family matters. Businesses can transact globally through emails and online payment methods. Meetings can also take place concurrently with each participant being in a different country or location through virtual communications. Although people have ignored how the internet has changed the way humans think it is clear that the internet has increased efficiency and effectiveness (Greenemeier 2013, p.
84). Nevertheless, the main concern is whether the effectiveness achieved at the expense of man’ s ability not to think normally or as he once did before the internet was discovered. How the Internet is changing how we think todayScientists, researchers, experts, and psychologists all have different takes on the effect of the internet especially on how the human thinks. The internet has been attributed to numerous negative results or implications. The emergency of social media networks or social sites has enabled people to connect in ways that people would not imagine.
Friends can hang out all day on the internet chatting, playing games, sharing music, or picture, among others. The social world on the internet has reduced the need to interact with people directly or physically. With the use of the internet, people are spending more and more time “ alone but together” (Brockman 2010, p. 15). Today, people gather all manner of information and exchange conversations using computers and while traveling the smartphone is always connected to the internet. This has generated increased debate on whether the internet is addictive and tends to decrease the social connections that were enjoyed a while back.
Numerous studies have already gathered evidence on how people especially teens are spending much of their time online. It is estimated that the average social user spends about one hour to three hours per day on the internet. Most of the social users are teens aged below twenty-one. However, older men and women in their late thirties are also popular users of the internet. These are just some of the behaviors related to the internet, which form a solid foundation for understanding how the internet has changed our way of thinking.
Although the changes in human behaviors are minor, the greater trend they illustrate develops one of the largest debates among experts on the internet, which is how we are adapting to the internet. This is in terms of memory or how the brain’ s consciousness related to the internet. According to Greengard (2009, 19), human memory has constantly been influenced by new advances in communications technology.
With the introduction of the internet, the need to memorize or store up huge information has been taken away. According to Brockman (2010, p. 15), the human brain does not have a computer memory capable of storing each and every detail with the degree of accuracy illustrated by technology. When a person wants to remember something they did or experienced in childhood, they have to reconstruct the events, which create room for errors or inconsistency (Morozov 2013, p. 7). Therefore, it is not human nature to memorize each and everything that they experience.
This brings in the idea of the internet, which provides vast amounts of information within no time. Therefore, the implications of using the internet as done today are based on being an extension or add-on to the brain's functionality. People rely on the internet to make their lives easier, and not to allow the internet or computer to think for themselves. For example, it would be easier for a GPS service on a car or smartphone to give directions rather than having to use a map while driving or memorizing direction prior to starting a journey.
From a deeper perspective, the internet acts as a reinforcement of man’ s mental capabilities (Spada, et al. 2014, p. 478). As the access to information becomes easier, more people are able to utilize their brains in achieving day-to-day activities. The brain has the capacity to store the main or important information as long as access to additional information is supported by the internet. People are now able to achieve numerous things without going to certain extents. For instance, one can plan for their day’ s activities by looking up weather updates or predictions easily through the internet.
However, without the internet, it would require certain skills or the help of an expert to make such predictions. The internet is increasing the human ability to think by enabling access to information as well as its interpretation (Taylor 2011, p 39). Nonetheless, the way the internet is changing thinking is also related to numerous negative implications. The internet is a web of information from sources in all corners of the world. Governments, businesses, entertainment industry, educational networks, and social entities all share information on the internet.
However, it remains a challenge to valid all the information being shared all around the internet. According to (Craver 1999, p. 12) through the internet, information is easy, but knowledge is challenging. The internet is large in terms of information resources, but its ability to acquire knowledge is zero or very less. People use the internet to make things easier and save on time, but knowledge or thinking has to be done individually. The internet is influencing the decision or thought that people make, but these thoughts are not generated by the internet alone (Craver 1999, p.
22). It is a means or a tool that makes it easier or effortless to achieve a certain goal. This can be traced through the history of different technologies such as broadcast and printing press. The printing press had an enormous impact on the world as the world became enlightened and people began to be literate. What the internet has done is similar, but at a higher level as information becomes seamlessly accessible and sharable. The internet has certainly changed the way people think in two ways.
It has the ability to develop thought as well as diminish it. This has always been the case for all types of technology as they have a good and bad side (Greengard 2009, 18). All that matters is the fact that the internet is a tool with the ability to enhance human thinking (Graham & Metaxas 2003, p. 71). This means that it is up to the individual to decide on what to do with the internet.
Playing games online or accessing information online has been linked to the positive development of critical thinking. Nonetheless, it has also been linked to negative results such as lack of deeper thinking or believing in every piece of information one finds on the internet (Graham & Metaxas 2003, p. 71). This tends to create a two-sided effect, which is what the world is currently experiencing. The internet has enhanced man’ s ability to think or solve numerous problems while it also contributes to addiction, lies, inconsistency, and even misleading people. What remains is predicting how the internet will impact thinking in the future. The Internet in the FutureThe idea of predicting the future is challenging as no one knows to what extent the computer or internet will achieve in the next coming ten years or so.
All that people can rely on is what people are inventing today. Moreover, the only appropriate way of predicting the future of the internet is by looking at or discussing current inventions that are being made. The future of the internet in terms of thinking will be an amplified and improved way of allowing humans to achieve more than what they could without the internet.
Technologies of the future will make it easier and easier for people to carry out their daily activities. Moreover, the idea of the internet as an information resource will increase as more and more people discover the internet and what it can do. Recent inventions in social media have already illustrated the formation of new nations or groups of interconnected, yet powerful people. The Middle East uprisings were triggered and accelerated by the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook (Bartell & Sullivan 2011, p.
122). In the future, such influences may have reached higher levels that the government may not be able to control. Social media sites will also continue improving the social experiences to the extent of relying on the internet for social life (Bartell & Sullivan 2011, p. 66). The need to work, communicate, order for food, shop, or seek medical attention or learn will be made simpler and effortless. It is no doubt that the current technological inventions are overwhelming if not frightening.
The world can now print three-dimensional objects, people can control a computer or machine with only their minds, people can wear glasses or bands that tell them their fitness and cars can even park or drive by themselves (Tsai, et al. 2014, p. 2205). All these technological advancements are linked to the internet in one way or the other. However, it is important to understand that these technological advancements have been made possible by people. Technological inventions of every day are as a result of individuals who put their knowledge and thinking into proper use.
Most if not all technological inventions are developed from a certain problem and the need to solve it (Tsai, et al. 2014, p. 2206). Therefore, as the world becomes complex and integrated, challenges will also increase and become complex. The internet will enable increased problems to be solved effectively from all the technological events. People will also continue to gain unlimited access to human knowledge increasing the levels of literacy and participation in social life. The human capability will increase immensely to a higher degree of seeing beyond reality and into the virtual world (Tsai, et al.
2014, p. 2208). This may cause increased development of ideas and ways to solve human challenges such as climate change, diseases, and poverty. For instance, technologies such as Nanotechnology will enable surgeons to insert cameras into a patient’ s brain during surgery (Tsai, et al. 2014, p. 2209). Such technologies will enable humans to access greater capabilities that are limited to humans. All these are possible with the right and appropriate use of the internet. Nonetheless, the internet will continue to become increasingly free or accessible and usable to more and more people (Bartell & Sullivan 2011, p.
67). Even countries that have long tried to control internet access to their citizens have faced increased pressure. This has resulted in revolutions from interconnected people behind computers from different locations. The future holds even bigger and complex revolutions of such kinds. Governments may not be able to control the virtual nations and states as the internet makes the world one nation or empire (Bartell & Sullivan 2011, p.
67). Overall, the internet is set to change the world as we know it in the future. It will be more of a post-modern or the post-normal world. However, what remains important is understanding that the internet is only a tool and if used appropriately can yield in the best or desired results. ConclusionIn conclusion, the internet has come a long way to influence how people think. Today, it would be almost impossible to conduct daily activities without the internet. Nonetheless, the internet is only an enhancement of what the human brain is capable of.
The internet has enhanced our thinking to offer a wider or deeper understanding of the world as well as our behaviors. People may be influenced by their thinking through the internet, but the internet will never have their own thoughts. The ideas and information found on the internet remain the construction of humans themselves and what they desire the internet to achieve. What it holds in the future can only be imagined as the internet becomes more and more complex. Generally, the internet will continue to influence our thinking in both negative and positive elements.
Bartell, DP, & Sullivan, RD 2011, Future of the Internet: Social Networks, Policy Issues, and Learning Tools, Nova Science Publishers, New York.
Brockman, J 2010, 'A big question: 'how is the internet changing the way you think?' Edge posed this question; discover how a wide range of thinkers responded', Nieman Reports, no. 2, p. 15.
Craver, KW 1999, Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in History, Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn.
Graham, L, & Metaxas, PT 2003, '"OF COURSE IT'S TRUE; I SAW IT ON THE INTERNET!" Critical Thinking in the Internet Era', Communications of the ACM, vol. 46, no. 5, pp. 70-75.
Greenemeier, L 2013, 'Edge of the Internet', Scientific American, vol. 308, no. 6, pp. 82-86.
Greengard, S 2009, 'Are We Losing our ability to Think Critically?', Communications of the ACM, vol. 52, no. 7, pp. 18-19.
Morozov, E 2013, 'Is Smart Making Us Dumb?', Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition, vol. 261, no. 44, pp. C1-C2.
Spada, MM, Caselli, G, Slifer, M, Nikčević, AV, & Sassaroli, S 2014, 'Desire Thinking as a Predictor of Problematic Internet Use', Social Science Computer Review, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 474-483.
Taylor, D 2011, 'Web of Deceit: Is the Internet Making Your Students Dumb?', English in Aotearoa, no. 74, p. 36.
Tsai, C, Lai, C, & Vasilakos, A, 2014, 'Future Internet of Things: open issues and challenges', Wireless Networks (10220038), vol. 20, no. 8, pp. 2201-2217.