‘Smart technology is not making us dumber’

San Francisco: There are plenty of negatives associated with smart technology — tech neck, texting and driving, blue light rays — but there is also a positive that the digital age is not making us stupid, say researchers.

The research team, including social and behavioural expert Anthony Chemero from the University of Cincinnati, explained in detail the evolution of the digital age, explaining how smart technology supplements thinking, thus helping us excel.

“Despite the headlines, there is no scientific evidence that shows that smartphones and digital technology harm our biological cognitive abilities,” said Chemero, who recently co-authored a paper stating such in Nature Human Behaviour.

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According to Chemero, what smartphones and digital technology seem to do instead is to change how we engage our biological cognitive abilities.

“These changes are actually cognitively beneficial,” Chemero said.

For example, he said, your smartphone knows the way to the baseball stadium so that you don’t have to dig out a map or ask for directions, which frees up brain energy to think about something else.

The same holds in a professional setting: “We’re not solving complex mathematical problems with pen and paper or memorizing phone numbers in 2021.”

Computers, tablets and smartphones, he said, function as an auxiliary, serving as tools which are good at memorisation, calculation and storing information and presenting information when you need it.

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