Abbreviated Searches and Convenience

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GoogleAccording to a recent article, Canadians may be some of the world’s most prolific Internet users. Nevertheless, Internet use is a global phenomenon, spreading far and wide as a normative aspect of daily life. In effect, debates have surfaced and continue with regard to whether technology dependence is fostering laziness, or if it is just convenient.

Abbreviated searches, such as typing a portion of Facebook (“fb”, “faceboo” etc.) are corrected by popular engines like Google. The question is, should we thank Google or scold it? Isn’t this creating a populous of lazy Internet users or, at least, careless spellers? It is even possible to type “face” into a search engine and seeing Facebook as the first result. Is this turning into an age of intellectual laziness?

Grant, for example, that phone numbers are scarcely ever memorized. Once it is stored in a mobile phone, there is hardly a reason to commit it to memory. Moreover, why develop a good sense of direction or buy a map with the outstanding capabilities of GPS technology? Even voice-recognition technology has advanced so much that the need for typing skills is diminishing. The problem is not with people, though, but with the efficiency and popularity of all this technology.

Skills like typing or reading a conventional map are no longer necessary. They are made redundant by the task-relieving nature of software and so many applications. It is obvious that handwriting sentiments, documents or anything for that matter is proving a more difficult task than typing. Especially considering typing can be set to automatic or to autocorrect itself, the process is more automatic itself. As such, more concentration and effort is needed to write with an actual utensil than it is to type.

But isn’t this still developing typing skills? In a way, yes, but at what cost? Typing does not develop patience, nor does it use a full hand, but just fingers. Hence, aren’t we using only a percentage of our full capabilities? It is important to consider what part of your typical routine is no longer, and what technology is replacing. Over a decade of work has gone into Google’s autocorrect technology, which can actually anticipate what users want to “say” as they type— even when spelling in is far from accurate.

So are spelling abilities deteriorating? Is it clear that Internet users are lazier when it comes to typing, or writing for that matter? Abbreviated searches are prolific examples of such phenomena. “You” is among the most popular Internet queries, which results in the top-ranked result, YouTube. Surely, Google has laid claim to their reasons for developing autocorrect technologies in the way they have. They want to give users what they want, to make things convenient and easy for them.

Indubitably, present technology is radically altering daily life, how we function and think. How we work and interact is ever-changing gradually with the advent and advancement of new technologies. But can the majority of human beings achieve the same things they used to without using some kind of software or application? Ultimately, although old skills are doubtlessly fading away, technology is still creating some new skills. However, what expectations we set for ourselves is probably the most important aspect of the debates about technology and laziness.

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