Techno Bashing from Thumb Typers. Give It a Rest, Please

March 5, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Every generation says that the latest cultural and technological advancements make people stupider. Novels were trash, the horseless carriage ruined traveling, radio encouraged wanton behavior, and the list continues. Everything changed with the implementation of television aka the boob tube. Too much television does cause cognitive degradation. In layman’s terms, it means the brain goes into passive functioning rather than actively thinking. It would be almost a Zen moment. Addiction is fun for some.

The introduction of videogames, computers, and mobile devices augmented the decline of brain function. The combination of AI-chatbots and screens, however, might prove to be the ultimate dumbing down of humans. APA PsycNet posted a new study by Umberto León-Domínguez called, “Potential Cognitive Risks Of Generative Transformer-Based AI-Chatbots On Higher Order Executive Thinking.”

Psychologists already discovered that spending too much time on a screen (i.e. playing videogames, watching TV or YouTube, browsing social media, etc.) increases the risk of depression and anxiety. When that is paired with AI-chatbots, or programs designed to replicate the human mind, humans rely on the algorithms to think for them.

León-Domínguez wondered if too much AI-chatbot consumption impaired cognitive development. In his abstract he invented some handy new terms that:

“The “neuronal recycling hypothesis” posits that the brain undergoes structural transformation by incorporating new cultural tools into “neural niches,” consequently altering individual cognition. In the case of technological tools, it has been established that they reduce the cognitive demand needed to solve tasks through a process called “cognitive offloading.” Cognitive offloading”perfectly describes younger generations and screen addicts. “Cultural tools into neural niches” also respects how older crowds view new-fangled technology, coupled with how different parts of the brain are affected with technology advancements. The modern human brain works differently from a human brain in the 18th-century or two thousand years ago.

He found:

“The pervasive use of AI chatbots may impair the efficiency of higher cognitive functions, such as problem-solving. Importance: Anticipating AI chatbots’ impact on human cognition enables the development of interventions to counteract potential negative effects. Next Steps: Design and execute experimental studies investigating the positive and negative effects of AI chatbots on human cognition.”

Are we doomed? No. Do we need to find ways to counteract stupidity? Yes. Do we know how it will be done? No.

Isn’t tech fun?

Whitney Grace, March 6, 2024


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