My take on the Internet affecting the way we learn and intake information is that it differs from person to person, and that it is not making anyone stupid, not in the least. The Internet has changed the way we accessed information. I believe that the information we seek and absorb is directly related to our interests, if we are uninterested we tend to skim. The access that we have to so much information available at our finger tips gives us the chance to learn things that me may otherwise have never known, and I can not see that as making us less intelligent.
In the past accessibility of books and magazine articles was so limited in comparison to what is available today. The speed at which things are available over the Internet is comparatively staggering, and it has created a new way to intake information. If something is uninteresting we choose to move on quickly. It takes more to catch the attention of the masses simply because there are so many options out there. I do not think that it is because we are lazy or stupid, we just have more ground to cover, so to say. It also depends on level of interest in a particular subject, if the reader is not interested they are more likely to skim over the information quickly.
The likelihood of a person consuming and retaining a mass quantity of information that they are not interested is low. The sheer amount of information that is on the Internet makes it impossible for people to be interested in every article they come across. People will tend to gravitate toward what they want to know, and if they want to know it they will retain it. Its like the old adage ‘you only hear what you want to hear’. I think we only read what we want to read and we only learn what we want to learn.
There are droves of people reading long book series’ like ‘Hunger Games’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (I’ll leave ‘Twilight’ out..). The success of these books is a clear sign that people are not giving up on reading or learning. We have just become accustomed to reading things that we enjoy. There is no reason to read something that is not of interest to us when there are so many other things out there that would surely be a better fit. Google making us stupid? I think not.