The other evening, I was attending a music concert put up by the fans of RD Burman – a well known Bollywood music composer. As a part of the event there was a quiz on RD Burman works. For the first few questions time was given for the audience to answer after a song. However this changed as the quiz master found people using the ubiquitous Google over the Internet through their mobiles… – to find the answer!
It was common to see children arguing about who scored the maximum homeruns in the season on ’74 or who were nominated for Oscars the last year. A debate will normally ensue – they will go home or to the library or ask an accepted guru. The time elapsed from the time the question was posed till the time the answer was found was useful. They debated, argued, gave some answers and this led to some healthy interaction.
However with the Internet all that has vanished. Internet does not let a debate prolong. It settles it immediately. Online evidence is not usually questioned specially if seen on Wikipedia or some equivalent site. The effect of all this is the loss of debate, the loss of Archimedean glee when an answer was found and the loss of a healthy interaction.
Mind you this in no way demeans Internet or Wikipedia. The main reason I feel is the increased need for instant gratification, the intense need to put a question to rest. I also suspect impatience too is playing a role here. From wanting to know the supplier name when the code is entered to Google auto suggestion all nifty user interface innovations seek to increase gratification. Chat software letting you know that your opposite is now typing is another example.
But there is one great advantage of reading a book on the Internet and that is the ability to book mark without dog ears!!