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Technology is making us forget things

Technology is making us forget things, and now we've got a Kaspersky Lab research to prove it.

According to a study by security firm Kaspersky Lab, when asked a question, 57 per cent will try to remember the answer themselves, but 36 per cent won’t even think about it – they’ll just pull up their phone and head for Google.

That 36 per cent is out of 6,000 people surveyed, and among those older than 45, that percentage rises to 40. “These consumers seem to be reluctant to spend time trying to recall something from memory or possibly doubt the accuracy of those memories,” the press release following the survey reads.

What’s even worse, a quarter of those respondents (24 per cent), admit they forget the answer as soon as they had used it. Similar to the previous discovery, the percentage in this case also rises to 27 per cent among the older population. This is called Digital Amnesia (opens in new tab).

Some 12 per cent assume the information will always be available somewhere online.

The experts who advised on the Digital Amnesia report highlight how a failure to make use of the information stored in our memories – for example by preferring to search online – can ultimately result in the dilution or disappearance of those memories.

“Our brain appears to strengthen a memory each time we recall it, and at the same time forget irrelevant memories that are distracting us. Past research[ii] has repeatedly demonstrated that actively recalling information is a very efficient way to create a permanent memory. In contrast, passively repeating information (e.g. by repeatedly looking it up on the internet) does not create a solid, lasting memory trace in the same way. Based on this research, it can be argued that the trend to look up information before even trying to recall it prevents the build-up of long-term memories,” explains Dr Maria Wimber, Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham.

T security can be an early casualty of our impatience to access information online. Kaspersky Lab has found that just under a fifth (18 per cent) of consumers – 22 per cent of those aged up to 24 - will opt for speed over protection when downloading files. This leaves the door wide open for malicious software intent on stealing personal data and compromising the device and any other devices connected to it.

If consumers haven’t protected their data, their online accounts and devices with strong passwords and data back-ups, the memories and information these hold could be lost or damaged forever.

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.