I Fucking Google Everything

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I was reading Neil deGrasse Tyson’s AMA today and when explaining why he thought he would suck at Jeopardy, he cited a ripper quote.

“Never memorise what you can look up in a book”
Albert Einstein

It was a famous response by Einstein when a colleague asked him for his phone number and the physicist had to look it up in a phone directory. It reminds me of uni exams, especially programming ones which consist largely of trivial syntax traps. The real world is like one big never-ending open book test.

It’s not an unfamiliar quote, but I wonder if anyone forecasted its relevance entering the new millenium. Had Einstein been born a century later, he would of been a googling maniac. Sometimes I google the time, because I can. In fact every week, I do the following almost a hundred times:

  1. COMMAND + T
  2. google search
  3. scan excerpts of results on page 1
  4. COMMAND + W

Answers are extracted within seconds. We don’t sustain wonder anymore. This isn’t a blog post expressing how nifty it is that Google has pretty much indexed everything in existence. It’s me wondering how it will affect the generations that know no other way.

My generation is in the middle; we’ve been exposed to it from our early teens. It wasn’t a complete monopoly back then, you would have to go through Excite, Yahoo or AltaVista until you found what you were looking for. This was before you could ask search engines questions, and definitely before the Jedi mind-reading autocomplete feature. At first the wow factor was in access to information. Now it’s generally regarded that if you can’t find something by googling it, it didn’t happen.

I’ve heard whispers of a time when people could talk shit at pubs and not be audited by wikipedia on the spot. Where cognitive energy would need to be spent to work out your bug, instead of copying and pasting the error. Where you had to actually call your friends or family to see what they were up to.

I wonder what it was like.

 

  • William Payne

    It sucked.

  • not a prude

    How goddamn piece of shit fucking douchbaggery non sucky awesome that is!  (figured that I add a just as trendy reply to your need to add profanity to gain visitors)

  • a fucking prude

    @b24dc72e2e062f16e4754e21f22b94c2:disqus : haha, can’t somebody express themselves as they please? stop being a goddamn piece of shit fucking douchbag

  • guest

    “I’m pretty sure had Albert of been born…”
    What the fuck does this mean?

    • DS

      It means you don’t know English.

      • joble

        What are you talking about? The sentence makes no sense. The “of” shouldn’t be there at all.

        It’s pretty clear that it’s a tray “have” (or ‘ve) that was erroneously transcribed from thought to written word, ie. “would Einstein have been born”.

    • http://twitter.com/craigmcn Craig McNaughton

      I believe he means “I’m pretty had Einstein’ve been born…” Or perhaps more succinctly, “…if Einstein had been born…”

      • Joe Bradish

        I’m pretty sure you missed a sure.

        • http://twitter.com/craigmcn Craig McNaughton

          I did. Thanks, Joe.

  • jsh2134

    You might like “The Minimilism of Not Knowing”

    http://mnmlist.com/unknown/

    • http://www.wernah.com/ Daniel Wearne

      Thanks for sharing, great article!

  • joshstrange

    TYPO: Eistein -> Einstein

    Great post, I agree 100%. I hated CS exams because I had to memorize things that my IDE would take care of for me and I always found that incredibly annoying. Why should I memorize something that I will never need in real life?

    • http://www.wernah.com/ Daniel Wearne

      Thanks for the typo spot :)  

      • ChubbyChab

        *Eisenstein

  • http://twitter.com/Djonckheere Darryl Jonckheere

    Ignorance is bliss.

  • http://kevinmil.es/ Kmiles

    Great article to reflect on. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us, Daniel.

    • http://www.wernah.com/ Daniel Wearne

      Thanks for reading!

  • Tom

    One thing that you should take the time to memorize is that the possessive of “it” is “it’s.”

    it’s relevance -> its relevance

  • http://softwareasaliving.com/ Rob

    I would also add, “don’t store anything you can download”.

  • Stephen Calnan

    Only a hundred times a week?  I think you know too much!

  • http://akkartik.name Kartik Agaram

    A propos to nothing, I find it faster to type in my query and hit alt-enter rather than hit ctrl-t then type in my query.
    :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/berdon Austin Hanson

    Same.

    PS. Please fix your site for mobile devices, specifically phones. On my Galaxy Nexus all I see is the grey left pane.

    • http://www.wernah.com/ Daniel Wearne

      I’ll get onto it

  • Arlo

    According to https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein the quote is a little different:

    [I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. …The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.

    and it was said “in response to to not knowing the speed of sound as included in the Edison Test”.Probably should have googled it before :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrence.a.davis1 Terrence Andrew Davis

    I’ve thought about this.  If you got rid of all rote learning in schools, you’d be left with 3 years instead of 12 years of content?  Skip teaching history?  Let’s talk about history.  You’ll soon decide moderation is in order–you need lots of facts or your brain can’t think.  It’s kind of like philosophers discussing knowing words.  Facts from history class, for example are entities like word that your brain uses to think about things.

  • eugenehennie

    Lmao… this is so funny because it’s true. I don’t know my mobile number here in Kuala Lumpur because I rarely use it. I use the Alfred app and I google search everything. I’m happy Einstein got it right… good stuff man. 

  • Trypooshy26

    Everything makes sense but one thing is that we will be history too for the next generation…were we probably dont need Google,.. maybe somerhing better than what we have now…. where that next generation will ask the same damn question ….never ask yourself what it was like before Einstein? What was that history?
    Bill Gate or Steeve Job could be history for the next generations…

  • Gerry Roe

    This quote makes my day. My daughter complained that she was made to memorize state capitols at 3 different grade levels. I can’t imagine a non-trivia game  or -school testing situation in which this memorization would necessary. To Terrence Andrew Davis I would respond that kids will soak up plenty of facts to think with; they just might not be the ones the teachers think are important. Getting rid of memorization doesn’t imply getting rid of school in some form.

  • Thomartin Social

    That’s how/why the Guinness book of records was invented. To end discussions at the bar! ;-)

  • http://www.isustainableearth.com/ Sustainable Earth

    The world is changing with technology, not all technology is as helpful as we think though.

  • thekillerdev

    What a awesome article, got here through google by the way. há!

  • http://www.thedsmgroup.com/ Jason Diller

    This was awesome…found this site via an inbound.org slideshow.  yay

  • http://www.theclippingpathindia.com/ Clipping Path

    Hello.This article was extremely fascinating, especially since I was browsing for thoughts on this topic last few days. Thanks :) Clipping Path Clipping Path Service