In the era of smartphones, many of us can no longer recall basic facts and information. The British cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has now come up with a name for this growing trend: “digital amnesia.”
A recent survey of 6,000 Europeans conducted by Kaspersky confirmed what others have suspected, namely, “a direct link between data available at the click of a button and a failure to commit that data to memory.” Elsewhere this has been called the “Google Effect.”
As you could probably guess, Kaspersky’s immediate interest in conducting the study was to show that people today need to protect their memories through increased IT security – which you can conveniently purchase from their company.
However, the results of the study are still enlightening, as they represent a dramatic change from how people thought in the not-too-distant past:
– More than half surveyed could remember their house phone number from age 10 (can you?), but not their children’s or office’s current phone number.
– One-third do not know their significant other’s phone number.
– Half of those aged 16 to 34 and 40% of those aged 35 to 44 say that their phone “holds almost everything they need to know or recall.”
– 79.5% “admit that they use the internet as an extension of their brain.”
Do you believe that forgetting such things as phone numbers, addresses, and historical facts is ultimately harmless? Or, do you tend to think that “digital amnesia” is having a negative effect on people’s thought?