Old people have always been afraid of change, especially when it comes to technology. My dad, for instance, still refers to the family computer as “the machine.” The poor sap probably thinks that the Internet is the tool of Satan. Having spent twelve hours a day for the past eight months enlightening myself online, I can assure you: these small-minded fools are simply afraid of how computers are empowering the younger generation. And now they have even enlisted the aid of scientists to tell us that computers are making us stupid.
You probably don’t believe me, but check out this article I found on the Internet (http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/02/04/stinwenws01005.html). It says that “scientific” research has shown that more and more young people are “suffering from severe memory loss” and becoming boneheads — forgetting names and appointments and losing their jobs — because they use computers too much. I know it sounds ridiculous, but look at what some of these lab coat guys are saying. One doctor in Tokyo said: “[E]rrors may occur in the brain’s ‘software’ that have nothing to do with age but are related to someone’s lifestyle, such as not using your brain enough.” And another researcher: “They’re losing the ability to remember new things, to pull out old data or to distinguish between important and unimportant information. It’s a type of brain dysfunction … Young people today are becoming stupid.”
As a “young people today”, I must acutely disagree with this droll statement. I mean, if anything, computers and the Internet are making us smarter. I have three main points. First, you probably noticed that this article contains a commodious and diverse vocabulary. No, I didn’t score a 1600 on my SAT. I know it looks like that, but I have actually just been using the “thesaurus” option on my word processor. And their is not a single misspelled word in this entire article.
Finally, with a computer, I can cut and paste whole paragraphs and place them where they will have utmost effect in the text.
Another thing is that there is a grammar checker on this computer, which will have had to have been catching all my grammatical errors and streamlining my language. I know I’m no poet laureate, but think of what William Faulkner could have done with a grammar checker. When I was in school, I used to fall asleep after reading only one of his sentences.
But the personal computer itself is really only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what technology can do for us today. There is perhaps no better research tool than the Internet. For example, all I have to do is type “young people” and “smart” into a Yahoo search field, and I get a treasure trove of indubitable evidence that disproves these scientists’ absurd and incongruous research. Don’t believe me? Try this link: http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=%27young+people%27+and+%27smart%27. And even when I ran a search for “young people” and “stupid”, I found this site — http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=%27young+people%27+and+%27stupid%27 — which is a glowing example of the creative powers that the exciting world of web design can unleash in our young people, not to mention a way to keep kids off the street and away from drugs. If kids are making web sites and playing Civilization for twelve hours a day, they won’t have enough time to get into trouble.
E-mail is also extending the horizons of the global village. Just today I received several important business opportunities to “earn $25k from my home in one month” and many exciting opportunities to meet gregarious Russian ladies.
But beyond even the Internet, computer technology has given us entree to the wider world through cell phones, pocket organizers, and a cornucopia of gadgets to make our lives easier, and they don’t effect our memory. I used to keep all of my important names, addresses and appointments in my Palm Pilot. And I didn’t miss a single appointment until I lost it . . . but that’s not my main point.
The point is that the wave of the future is the Information Superhighway because it is the best chance we have to keep kids off the street and away from drugs.