Can Artificial Intelligence Make us Stupid

Changing technology stimulates the brain and increases intelligence. But that may only be true if the technology challenges us. In a world run by intelligent machines, our lives could get a lot simpler. Would that make us less intelligent?

The Age of Machines
After the Industrial Revolution, machines began to replace manual workers. The process played out in agriculture as well as manufacturing so that hordes of agricultural workers were displaced and forced to move to cities to make a living.

When machines took away much of the manual work, people became less physically active and gained weight. Sedentary lifestyle contributed to a worldwide epidemic of obesity and related metabolic disorders such as heart disease, secondary diabetes and kidney disease.

As our bodies rested, our brains were forced to work harder, however. It is much more difficult to navigate a congested modern city than it is to move around in a small rural village, for instance. Modern jobs are also more complex and time urgent and they require more education because employees need to process new information quickly.

Even during our leisure time, our brains work harder due to greater availability of books, and proliferation of audiovisual media, for entertainment, study, music, news, and so forth.

Now in the Internet age, the volume of information grows exponentially along with sophistication in electronic technologies. The number of people with whom we interact electronically grows by leaps and bounds thanks to the ease of use of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

All of this extra work for our brains makes us more intelligent. That helps explain why human intelligence increases steadily from generation to generation in all developed countries, a phenomenon named the Flynn Effect. Of course, there are other reasons, including —> Read More