Tech Trained Monkey

Everyday Problem Solvers

Internet and Intelligence

Intelligence is a very controversial topic. There’s no official definition that is accepted worldwide, but among all the definitions, scholars usually adopt one of the two:

A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—”catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.Mainstream Science on Intelligence


Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person’s intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of “intelligence” are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen, somewhat different, definitions. – American Psychological Association

Some think that this is a “I say tomato, you say tomahto” kind of discussion, to the propos of this post you can choose any of them.

Scientists did demonstrated that intensive use of the internet does decrease our capacity to concentrate. Some people in possession of that fact concluded, (in my opinion and racionalization) wrongly, that because we can’t concentrate we are getting dumber… In my opinion the lack of concentration does not allow us to show how intelligent we really are. In my opinion lack of concentration is like a dirty window, it’s hard to see through it, but the inside of the room is there!

The ability to concentrate is very powerful, but it’s not everything. Never concentrated so hard on something and actually got stuck? And then left, watched the birds while drinking some coffee and returned to the problem with a fresh perspective and a rush of creativity?

Common sense states that if you know something, you don’t need google for it (ok common sense don’t mention google), and the more you know, more intelligent you are.

At a first glance you might think that common sense is right again, but lets not confuse intelligence with the ability to hold information! Yes intelligence is commonly followed by good memory, but not the way around. Rain Man had an extraordinary memory but performed very poorly on all the areas of intelligence! Einstein himself stated “Never memorize something that you can look up“. Google does help us a lot in this point!

In the business world intelligence is highly associated with the ability to solve problems. The internet and its vast amount of knowledge did not turn those who can use it properly more intelligent! Notice that these people did not solve problems! Other people have! They were intelligent enough to think that maybe someone else already had the problem that they’re trying to solve, solved it and posted a How To about it! but that’s it, no real creation. R&D people only use google to find out how ahead they are, compared to the rest of the world… they don’t expect to find a “how to solve my problem”, because if they do, whats the point on reinventing the wheel?

I would like to conclude quoting Voltaire:

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.Voltaire


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