A bad thing the internet is good at

The internet is really good at taking the mystery out of everything. Artist Keri Smith sums it up best:

One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is how the internet is causing me to take many less risks in my life. I find myself doing entirely too much research on too many things, (god knows I love researching). But is it necessary to do it with everything? Every purchase. Every question. Every topic? …

More importantly, what ever happened to just reading the back of a book and taking a chance? What of the learning that arises out of making a mistake and having to live with that? What of the amount of time it takes away from our lives to conduct research on everything? How are we being altered psychologically by the process of trying to ensure that something is perfect? How will we change if we do not ever take any chances? What if we never made any mistakes again?

Two things reminded me of this today.

The first was a post about a new web site that takes the mystery out of your memory and the movies you’ve seen. I can’t tell you in what movie Woody Allen quipped “eternal nothingness is okay if you’re dressed for it,” and I like it that way. Let’s just say it was Hannah and Her Sisters and call it a night.

But no, out comes subzin, a web site that can tell you what movie a given quotation is from, the time it was uttered in said film and even links to the exact moment said utterance occurred, on Netflix. {via daring fireball}

The second happened at work, when I overheard someone mumble to their friend about the music I was playing. I then heard the word “Shazam,” a reference to the mobile app that can tell what’s playing using the iPhone’s built-in microphone.¬†After several seconds the customer declared, “Elvis Costello! I thought so!”

I’m self-aware/pretentious enough to say that this is a gentleman I wouldn’t have been able to sustain a very long conversation with. But what about all the reflective types, wondering about the music, looking it up on Shazam and quietly adding the music on my playlist to one of their Save for Later lists? How many good conversations and new connections am I missing out on because of something called Shazam?