I remember watching an animation film ‘Wall-E’ a few years ago. To be honest, I do not perfectly remember the full story. This one scene, however, was strong enough to linger in my memory until now. This scene depicted people sitting on advanced technology chairs, which provided humans with everything from food to clothing. It did not let humans to have any time for contemplation by providing them with overwhelming entertainment of media contents. This highly developed technology isolated people from not only healthy physical conditions but also from cognitive abilities. As a young child, I vaguely grew a feeling of fear towards being overthrown by technology. Many scholars say that this fear is actually becoming a reality. Artificial intelligence is exponentially developing and people are now living in a highly convenient world, where human effort is needless. In the current society, the most nearby concern is the internet. I believe that the internet has both positive and negative sides regarding the common concern of disenabling human cognitive skill.
The negative aspect of internet is the diminishing capacity of concentration. This seems to happen because of the importance of searching information with great effort is no longer necessary. In the past, human being had to search for information mostly in printed materials that did not allow a simple click. Information seeking without the internet and technology was a much difficult task. Take navigation application for example. I remember searching through the thick maps, struggling to find the exact code of location. However, now I can find the way with a simple touch on my phone. People simply do not have any reason for active participation in seeking information and retaining it. Therefore, we slowly lose our once obtained skill of concentration. My experience of using e-book also supports the fact that non-paper-based materials distracts our concentration. When I took the TOEFL test, the most difficult task was to concentrate on the reading section. This was because the whole test is computer based. I had to read the screen and found myself being distracted by computer as I know that the device is capable of other tasks as well, such as internet surfing. The dangerous part is that this phenomenon impacts us to the point that we cannot concentrate on other activities as well, such as reading a paper book.
Despite the negative aspects, I believe that smart use of internet can enhance our knowledge. The modern world has vast amount of knowledge that one human being cannot gain through thorough reading. The internet allows us to reach out to the information accumulated throughout the history. It is easy and fast, which is what contemporary people need. If we make good use of the internet and technology, we can obtain knowledge beyond our imagination. A simple and direct example is the search of a recipe. One of my friend’s mother said that she now does not need the old recipe books because the internet provides her with much more recent and simple recipes. She said that the recipe books that she had are now ancient and it is efficient for her to just search recipes on internet as it provides customized information. For example, if you need to use up a certain ingredient before the best before date, all you need to do is a quick internet search of a recipe with the ingredient.
The fear that I have felt while watching Wall-E might become a reality with mindless use of internet. It can overthrow our cognitive abilities, disenabling our active ego. This can even lead to lack of proper knowledge due to diminished concentration like the people in Wall-E in my memory. However, smart use of internet can in turn enrich our knowledge. It undoubtedly gives us the chance to access to myriad amount of information. With its easy access, the internet prospers our field of expertise. Therefore, the most important element to remember is the maintenance of balance between internet usage and other sources of information.