Tag Archives: Ken Jennings

Google me this, Batman

6 Oct

(My headline makes no sense for the following story; I’m just trying to be cute.)

The Internet is like our brain’s lackey.

That occurred to me as I read an interview with Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings in Time magazine recently. The vast “Interwebs” is like a crutch, and there’s a very real possibility that all of our brains will soon turn to mush. Except for Ken’s, of course.

He cogently pointed out that our brains have become too dependent on things like phone navigators, spellcheck and Google search. Why mine our brains to recall information? Why fold out a map or look at the sun’s position in the sky? Why open a reference book? Why ask a real live person? Why do any of these things when we can just type in the right keywords and — voila! — a page of relevant websites magically appears.

I’m trying hard not to let the Internet do all my work for me. Here are a few ways I rely on good ol’ fashioned brain power:

When I’m putting together mix CDs with a certain theme, I do not go to the iTunes store to see similar compilations that iTunes suggests. I add songs when my brain recalls the titles or I hear them on the radio.

When I’m deciding on a movie to see at home or in the theater, I rely on recommendations from friends and from reviews I happened to have read. I pretty much ignore Netflix recommendations for such things as “critically acclaimed comedies with Jewish mothers and Southwestern settings” — although the descriptors do make me chuckle.

When I go to the library to check out books — what a concept — I use the computerized catalog but memorize the call letters of the book I’m looking for.

When I’m putting together random lists for the fun of it, such as “actors with first-degree relatives who are also actors,” I don’t rush to Google and type in “brother and sister actors,” etc. I rely on my memory.

When I am contemplating what to blog about, I ignore the suggestions from WordPress.com that pop up whenever I publish. Very considerate of you, WordPress, but I think I can figure it out.

Finally, here’s a real no-no, and if I resort to this my brain might as well just release from my skull and jump into a pickling jar: I will not let the computer help me with Scrabble by scanning my letters and suggesting some obscure word. If I never had any idea that “qi” was a word, I’m certainly not going to start using it in a game I’m pretty good at anyway. Although I don’t have a “u” ….

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