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Knowledge: All in the mind, or all in the phone?

By Elizabeth Saulsbury
On March 23, 2014

It's hard to be humble in the age of information.
With so much knowledge right at our fingertips, the members of our generation consider themselves the most knowledgeable of all time.
Maybe we are.
If we need to communicate with someone, we can do it instantly via text. If we have a question, we turn to the all-powerful Google, or better yet, we direct our question to Siri, who will feed us all the information she can find in her charmingly robotic voice.
If we log into our email, the day's news is waiting to greet us on the home page.
Taking in such ready information and communication has sparked many discussions and debates.
Haven't we all heard the arguments about Millennials not having the social skills they should because of social media and texting? #heardthatoneazilliontimes
Technology is great. It's convenient, and it's pretty incredible.
But not only have Millennials become fairly dependent on this type of instant information and communication, but we've gotten pretty big-headed about it, too.
As someone who got her first smartphone fairly recently ­- okay, very recently; I got it three weeks ago - I can admit to the feeling of pride that comes with owning and carrying such a device.
It's really nice to have Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, music, and more right here in the palm of my hand.
This whole Snapchat thing is pretty cool, too.
Yes, I'll confess that I feel a little surge of self-importance at this kind of accessibility. But it is distracting, and it feeds my ego.
We consider ourselves superior now. Maybe it's not intentional, but it seems that we tend to scoff at the innovations of earlier days.
Why? Because we're so much more advanced now; we're so much smarter now and we're so much more informed now.
Or are we?
Just because we can text our acquaintances doesn't necessarily mean that we're more advanced than people were in earlier days.
In fact, the amount of grammatical errors that frequently appear in our texts seem to denote the opposite.
Just because we can web search information doesn't mean we're smarter than previous generations.
Being able to copy and paste a quiz question into Google and gain the correct answer isn't indicative of intellect, just of accessibility.
Because information is more quickly available, we are slower to appreciate it.
Just because the news of the area, nation, and world are easily accessed from our devices doesn't necessarily mean that we're more informed.
While a great deal of that type of information may be accurate, a lot of it isn't.
There are a whole lot of crazy people putting crazy things on the Internet.
And the sad thing is that we're usually crazy enough to believe it.
We shouldn't scorn the inventions and technology of days gone by.
To laugh at previous generations' products in comparison to today's is not only conceited, but meaningless.
The information overload that we receive on a day-by-day basis may be more convenient, but it doesn't make us more intelligent than the people who came before us.
And the technological innovations of our generation are certainly amazing, but only until the next best thing comes along.
After all, someday in the future, a tablet will look just as ridiculous a cassette tape does now.

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