Google at 20: how a search engine became a literal extension of our mind
Posted in: Miscellaneous at 04/09/2018 18:51
We are losing our minds to Google. After 20 years, Google’s products have become integrated into our everyday lives, altering the very structure of our cognitive architecture, and our minds have expanded out into cyberspace as a consequence. This is not science fiction, but an implication of what’s known as the “extended mind thesis”, a widely accepted view in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience.
Make no mistake about it, this is a seismic shift in human psychology, probably the biggest we have ever had to cope with, and one that is occurring with breathtaking rapidity – Google, after all, is just 20 years old, this month. But although this shift has some good consequences, there are some deeply troubling issues we urgently need to address.
Much of my research spans issues to do with personal identity, mind, neuroscience, and ethics. And in my view, as we gobble up Google’s AI driven “personalised” features, we cede ever more of our personal cognitive space to Google, and so both mental privacy and the ability to think freely are eroded. What’s more, evidence is starting to emerge that there may be a link between technology use and mental health problems. In other words, it is not clear that our minds can take the strain of the virtual stretch. Perhaps we are even close to the snapping point.
Google turns 20: Ten fun facts you didn’t know about the tech behemoth
TODAY is Google’s 20th birthday.
Before it became the company that has defined the era of the internet, it evolved out of an academic project started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
In 1995, the then PhD students at Stanford University were interested in the mathematical properties of the world wide web and made it the focus of their major academic paper.