Over the years Google has made a great impact in our lives especially in our country Nigeria but I believe we are really losing our minds to Google. Been able to use Google search engine everyday has greatly altered the structure of cognitive architecture and ability to reason, our mind has been deeply connected to the cloud for every possible answer and solutions to our problems. In view of this in Nigeria there is a popular phrase that says “If you want to know my name, Please Google it!” this phrase “Google it” has actually increased our relationship with Google because every android, smartphone, internet-enabled phone user can actually assess any information with just one click, in fact Google helps them to automatically complete their questions, this has greatly eroded the ability of thinking freely which is in agreement with views on psychology and neuroscience.
Our Mind Connectivity With Google
In my research on this great connectivity between the mind and Google I have found out that the ties we have with Google is like that of an unborn child and the mother very mutual. In the work of Andy Clark and David Chalmers “The Extended Mind”, they clearly argued that when we integrate things from the external environment into our thinking processes, those external things play the same cognitive role as our brains do. As a result, they are just as much a part of our mind as neurons and synapses. Google is just 20 years old this month and it’s as if all this while from the origin of man Google has been there, but does the question about the existence and presence of Google really matter? It does for these two reasons:
Google is not just only a search engine and a passive reasoning tool, it is powered by the latest upgrade of Artificial Intelligence; for instance the Google maps gives us direction and tells us how to get there, either by using foot or any means of transportation but not only does it gives us direction but it is able to gives some basic suggestion that it feels could be helpful and that might interest us. With just two clicks we are provided quick information about bookings, flight schedules, appointments and reservations with the help of Google Assistant. Gmail now makes suggestions about what we want to type. And Google News now pushes stories that it thinks are relevant to us, personally. Believe me all of this removes the very need to think and make decisions for ourselves. Using Google I will emphasize, literally fills gaps in our reasoning ability, and so fills gaps in our minds which implies that mental privacy and the ability to think freely are both eroded.
Relationship With Google, An Addiction or Integration?
Scientifically, it really doesn’t seem to be good for our mind and ability to think to be generally spread across the internet. The current issue that is alarming is the “Smartphone Ties or Addiction”, which is no longer an uncommon problem. According to recent research, the average Nigerian smartphone user checks his phone every 8 minutes. There are a whole host of bad psychological effects this could have that we are only just beginning to appreciate, anxiety and depression being the two most prominent.
But the word “addiction” here, in my view, is just another word for integration which I mentioned above. The reason why so many of us find it so hard to put our smartphones down, it seems to me, is that we have integrated their use into our everyday cognitive processes. We literally have them because they help us to think or rather they do the thinking for us, and so it is no wonder it is hard to stop using them. To have one’s smartphone suddenly taken away is likened to having a heartbreak. Instead, to break the addiction/integration and regain our mental health, we must learn to think differently, and to reclaim our minds and make it functional.
If our relationship with Google is mutual, then to a point we should be able to concentrate more on our cognitive ability and run to Google when we are stuck, not rushing to it at first instance when a problem pops up. It’s better to have some security backup you know, every man wants to be engage in what makes life easier for him but our relationship with Google should be more of a partnership or let’s say integration instead of getting addicted.