Reflections on Google Day

So on Tuesday, I spent a working day having all my actions and decisions decided by Google searches. To see how it went, have a look here. I figured I should try and analyse what happened a bit and see if anything came out of it other than the 15 minutes I wasted looking out for tornadoes.

In attempt to legitimise what I’m doing, I mapped out some of the activities I did (click for larger image):

I think the most surprising thing about the day was how normal it was. Apart from a few odd diversions, it was pretty much like a normal day off – cooking breakfast, reading the paper, tidying a bit etc. So the knowledge and guidance I was given was generally quite useful and practical. I really didn’t expect that to happen.

However, despite its relative mundanity, I felt very weird at the end of the day. Maybe it was just all the meditation, tea and bathing, but when it turned 5 o’clock and I was “free”, I felt odd and didn’t really know what to do with myself. This sensation didn’t last long, maybe half an hour or so, but it was very real and slightly unsettling.

These two contrasting effects seem to highlight nicely the conflicted feelings people have about our reliance on technology for our understanding of the world. There’s no doubt that its really bloody useful – but what happens when we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot turn to it?

I think I will probably continue to do some similar experiments over the coming weeks, exploring further our reliance on external sources for information and knowledge. Watch this space.

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