42 Ways in Which Google Gives You the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Carr’s article indicates that the internet has changed the way in which we read, think, and speak. That is, “It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.” It has taught us to value efficiency over, say a close-reading of a novel. It has become a medium through which problems are easily solved through the click of a button. It has made us more “machine” than human. It has made us, in Socrates’ words, “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction”. And that is a great quantity that questions quality. Indeed, the internet — Google, in particular — has become so integrated in our lives that it is now a worry to some.

Yet, also in Carr’s words, “The human brain is almost infinitely malleable.” Can this infinite malleability not be seen as a good thing? To change the way in which we think as time passes and we gain more knowledge? — Instead of getting tied up in traditional ways that may be outdated in the social realm? Are we not getting smarter as an outcome of evolutionary pressures?

While we jump from link to link to search for information, we are not mindless in the task; we are formulating effective search queries, communicating with others through popular questions and phrases so that the algorithm could make them appear on the first results page, sharing new ways in which to think about classic novels, and creating connections between different ideas as a result of being exposed to more readily available material.

Yes, artificial intelligence can be scary, as Carr has put it. However, it nonetheless offers us infinite possibilities; some of which have already been described in the previous paragraphs. I now present to you what you’ve all been waiting for — 42 Ways in Which Google Gives You the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything:

  1. It finds locations/destinations
  2. It converts time zones for you
  3. It organizes/tells you your schedule
  4. It provides the latest news
  5. It calculates math problems
  6. It finds telephone numbers
  7. It lets you watch videos anytime, anywhere
  8. It answers widely asked questions
  9. It helps you think more efficiently
  10. It helps you think more broadly
  11. It connects you with others
  12. It connects you to different ideas
  13. It’s an archive of internet history
  14. It finds specific images
  15. It allows you to make calls
  16. It tells you the weather
  17. It lets you collaborate with others
  18. It lists movies from which to choose
  19. It gives you reminders
  20. It helps you navigate
  21. It provides an email service
  22. It sources quotes from books
  23. It sources quotes from movies
  24. It finds songs by your favourite bands
  25. It finds books by your favourite author
  26. It tells you the distance between point A and B
  27. It introduces you to different recipes
  28. It shows relevant advertisements
  29. It gives you gift ideas
  30. It translates different languages
  31. It gives you restaurant/hotel recommendations
  32. It tells you the calories in food and drink
  33. It times you/acts as a stopwatch
  34. It helps you find the newest games
  35. It converts currency
  36. It checks your flight status
  37. It tells you when your favourite show is on
  38. It tells you movie release dates
  39. It provides you information on companies/organizations
  40. It curates (fan)clubs
  41. It converts measurements for you
  42. It checks your flight status

This list is not exhaustive. What are other ways in which you can use the internet/Google?

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