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What would we do without Google?

Wednesday February 26 2020
By ABIGAIL ARUNGA

I didn’t think it was entirely possible, but I did it anyway.

It’s so surprising how many things in our day-to-day life need Google to function. You don’t realise how many they are – until you have to do a whole day without them.

Think about it. When you wake up in the morning, you reach for your (probably) android phone. If you’re going to check out your route to work, you’re looking at it on Google Maps (have you checked out the new look Google Maps, by the way, in commemoration of their anniversary?). If you want to listen to some music during the day, you’ll likely listen to it on YouTube or Google Play – as you check your work email on – you guessed it – Gmail.

It was really hard for me to do an entire day without Google – and even in terms of commemoration, I failed at that a little bit too! I had to tweet about it, of course, because I am a millennial, and you know that with us, if there is no hashtag, it didn’t really happen (you can find the whole story on my Twitter. The hashtag I used was #ADayWithoutGoogle). So yes, I wrote about it. Writing about it, in fact, is what I did the whole day, because not being on Google makes work and life as a writer pretty impossible.

How can I not Google something about how to kill someone in the short story I am starting, or read the article about the Modern Love podcast on (ha!) Google Podcasts? As a creative – and maybe this differs across fields and careers – life without being able to fact check or double check is really, really hard. At some point, I just started to screenshot articles I was going to read on my Chrome browser on my phone, because apparently, as I quickly discovered, my laptop doesn’t seem to understand how to use Bing. Go figure.

It brings about a rather obvious question as we foray into the world of artificial intelligence and human dependence – which, as you can see, even if you look into your own life, is a prevalent trend. We already use computers and technology for so many things to make our lives easier – from apps like Calendar to plan and remind us about meetups to Assistant, for answering all the questions we’re too lazy to type, to following satellite-generated directions to places hours away that we’ve never been to. What does this mean for the human race? In the event of a Wall-E like apocalypse, would we even survive?

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Of course we would survive. The human race is built to do so, and the reason all this technology exists in the first place is to make our lives easier, to make us survive better. Sure, if we had to, we could do without – billions across the world do, after all. But access to Internet is a human right, after all, and it would be nice if we could all partake of that human right. Technology only takes us further, into even more. But just for the record, I, for one, never want to have to do another day without Google Search.

Twitter: @AbigailArunga

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