Survey Says The Internet Will Make You Smarter

According to the online survey of Web users and experts, more than three-quarters believe the Internet will make people smarter in the next 10 years. Additionally, most respondents thought the Internet would improve reading and writing skills by 2020. The survey was conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University in North Carolina and the Pew Internet and American Life project.

"Three out of four experts said our use of the Internet enhances and augments human intelligence, and two-thirds said use of the Internet has improved reading, writing and the rendering of knowledge," said study co-author Janna Anderson, director of the Imagining the Internet Center.

The survey gathered opinions from scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers, technology developers, and Internet users screened by the authors. Of the 895 people surveyed, 371 were considered experts.

The study was partially prompted by an August 2008 cover story in the Atlantic Monthly entitled Is Google Making Us Stupid? In the story, technology writer Nicholas Carr suggested that the use of the Web was negatively affecting users' capacity for concentration and deep thinking.

Carr also participated in the Elon University study and told the authors he still agreed with the piece. "The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking" he said. In the survey, 21% of respondents agreed, believing the Internet could lower the IQs of some who use it a lot.