From The Atlantic:
Last week I bought the new iPhone 4—so you know that I’m not a Luddite—but I have to admit, while staring down at this little devil of a device, that it has all but obliterated the role of arbiter for the bartender. If you want to know how many yards John Riggins rushed for the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII, you just whip out your smart phone and ‘Google it.’ (The answer: 166 yards.) If you want to know who was the 26th President of the United States, a quick visit to Wikipedia will do the trick. (For the record, it’s Teddy Roosevelt.)
All of this is fine for knowledge’s sake, but it does little for our public life. I find my attention increasingly toward the drink itself and away from open conversations, the glue of community. It’s important to find a balance. A great bartender is not made drink by drink, but relationship by relationship. And those relationships are not just formed between bartender and customer, but among the customers themselves.
A cool story, and a great perspective on something I’ve been noticing a lot recently – I hardly ever have the neither-of-us-know-but-let’s-argue-for-four-hours kind of debates that I used to, that I love so much.
Who won the Super Bowl three years ago? Even if I know the answer (I’m thinking the Steelers – nope, that was two years ago, it was the Giants. I knew that!), I don’t take the time to think – out comes the phone. I wonder what that’s doing to my pointlessly-arguing skills, to my ability to recall things, and to my ability to discuss something. In the age of Google and Wikipedia and the tyranny of the search result, do those things have a place? Why even try to retain something, when it might be faster to just Google it anyway?