10 signs your tech has made you dumber

How to tell if you're becoming over-reliant on your technology


Now that technology can do so much, it's amazing we can do anything for ourselves. To find out, see how many of these tech-induced maladies you've already fallen victim to...

1. You can't remember anything

Before mobile phones were invented you practically had an contact book in your head - you knew all the phone numbers of your friends and family off by heart and could happily walk into a public telephone box, stick in 10p and call anyone of them.

Now the only number you can ever remember is the one for your local pizza parlour. But that's only because it has six '7's in it. And unless your Blackberry tells you it's your birthday you'd probably forget that too.

2. You have no sense of direction

For hundreds of years people have known how to navigate by tracking the relative position of the sun, the moon and the stars. How you envy those migrating animals now.

These days you can't even figure out how to get to Asda without Satnav assistance. Even if it does force you to drive wrong way down one-way streets, wade through perilous fords or career through people's front doors. And now thanks to GPS in phones you don't even have to remember how to walk to the car. Brilliant.

3. You think you can sing, but you can't

Close-harmony singing, remember that? You'd be standing round the piano at Christmas time, yodelling your hosannahs with your other three Barber Shop owning friends. Not any more. You say the iPod is the best thing ever invented? We've heard you on the bus. We beg to differ.

4. You've lost the ability to write

Can you even decipher your horrible illegible scrawl anymore? Noticed a strange ache in your hand when you try to write longhand? All those years of learning how to create neat cursive script went out the window the moment the first wordprocessor appeared. Two decades on, the damage is complete.

5. U TXT therefore U is SMS

It's only two characters away from being the international call-sign for distress - which explains a lot when you think about it.

Instead of the fully-formed vowels, consonants, word, verbs, subjects and sentences, we end up with this: RU come down Baa Bar L8R? CU 7 ;-). And now you're starting to slip them into emails to your boss.

6. You have a short attention span

From having had awesome levels of concentration, able to bury yourself in a book/work/paper for hours at a time, you now find you can't focus on anything for more than five minutes. Watching the TV? You're wondering if there's something better on channel 348, on your Facebook page, on your fan forum.

Trying to work? You're checking your email/IM/Skype/phone every five minutes. On a train? You're reading emails, RSS feeds, the BBC homepage - anything to avoid spending more than 10 minutes alone with your thoughts.

7. You didn't know there was so much you didn't know

You work hard, study hard, play hard. So why do you feel like a doofus who doesn't know anything? Two words: The Internet. You keep coming across stuff every day that shatters every bit of knowledge you've ever accumulated, and it gives you a shed-load more than you didn't know you needed. And none of it matters.

8. You keep running into people who think they're famous

They work in some drab job, but they are so totally famous online. That's because they film every waking moment of their lives on their camera phone and then stick it up on YouTube. The police are probably keeping an eye on their profiles. But that's OK, at least it means that someone is watching them.

9. You troll

Once upon a time you went on the internet to talk to people who had the same interests as you. Not any more. Now you just sit on forums waiting for the idiots to turn up so you can bait them, flame them and generally get on their nerves. At least you're pretty democratic about it - you hate everyone.

10. You can no longer distinguish between video games and reality

Last night you tried to buy a gun from the security guard at Woolworths not realising that GTA IV stopped where the outside world began. And you can't understand why you were rubbish during cricket practice last Sunday, when you know for a fact that your Wii-bat is awesome.

How did you do? If you scored mostly A's then… oh dear. Why not write in with your responses below?