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Online amenities create utopia of idiots, curb serious thinking (2)

By Wan Lixin  (Shanghai Daily)

09:28, November 12, 2012

"With just a few clicks, you have everything you need. How infinitely convenient and more comfortable than traditional book reading, with all the pains of consulting, referencing, book copying, rote-learning, scrutinizing, reviewing ...." added Wang.

I was reminded of a conversation I overheard recently between two of my colleagues. One said he had driven extensively through a part of suburban Shanghai, causing speculation that he must be fairly familiar with the ways of the region.

"Not at all, not since I drove with GPS," the other replied.

Online amenities are creating a utopia of idiots, as a few clicks are all that is needed to arrange a trip, buy something, book a ticket, find a restaurant, a job, or a date.

In the past it would take quite a while to produce a learned paper, or go through the paperwork for a divorce - now it can be all fixed up in 10 minutes.

The impact on true culture could be devastating.

Reading in the traditional sense of the word is being marginalized, and steadily replaced by online browsing, or better, watching.

"Of course the fight between a beauty and a beast in a bedroom is much more exciting than the subtle hints of affection in, say, 'A Dream of Red Mansions'," observed Wang.

Strangely, exposure to the multiplicity of frivolous bits of sensational news gets people hooked, so they crave more of the same.

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