Since the dawn of technology, there have been numerous concerns about its effects on the mind of its users significantly. Is Google making us stupid is an article written by Nicholas Carr that reveals the extent to which the internet has affected people’s attention spans and also diminishes critical thinking. Carr justifies his arguments through the use of examples of research carried out by numerous universities and institutions. The article asserts that people should be highly skeptical of the internet due to the adverse effects it may shape their thinking. Carr (2008) further mentions that the constant use of the internet may have an adverse impact on the abilities of the users to read more extended details and to comprehend deeper meanings from long and complicated articles. His overall argument that will be assessed is that technology has become a central manner for numerous individuals in obtaining information. Therefore Carr is afraid that this obsession with using the internet may negatively affect various cultures and also a person’s intelligence. The paper will analyze the arguments presented by Carr and also evaluate the important concepts highlighted by the author throughout his article. It will also provide various alternative viewpoints concerning the positive implications of utilizing the internet in association with the arguments stated by the author.
In the article Carr highlights that: “I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages”. As an author, he has discovered that the internet is valuable too; however, it has a negative implication on his concentration. This is further highlighted when he provides an example of how his fellow writers have experienced similar changes when reading books and maintaining their attention effectively. The author reveals that he felt as though his brain had been reconstructed through reprogramming and remapping it. This is due to the reduction in critical thinking and a decrease in attention span (Carr, 2008). With the increase in the use of Google and the internet, we have traded our acquired intelligence to the superficiality of the internet. We have additionally, conclude that Google has all the answers and therefore, some people rarely make the extra effort of doing thorough research.
The author mentioned that another enemy to our attention span is the use of hyperlinks. This is not directly associated with Google but mainly our limited attention span. Carr stated that:” As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.” In this area, the main problem lies with the internet users and all the internet does is expose their weaknesses. People currently seek online for new information and hyperlinks that allow them to jump from one website to another before they can fully understand the information at hand (Carr, 2008). This has only led to a fleeting attention span, and Carr effectively questions our freedom and restraint. The flexible aspect of the brain has been highly positive; however, the author highlights the negative implications of this element. Since our experiences shape our minds, we should be vigilant not to be enslaved by technology (Calvo, & D’Mello, 2011). Every activity we engage in typically affects our brain in one way or another.
In his words, Carr (2008) mentioned that: ”Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words,” and “Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” Here he is referring to his inability to be proficient in his writing as he once previously did which is an adverse effect of regularly being online. Inadvertently, the internet has offered numerous users with essential information and Carr immediately points that out. The internet provides people with access to a lot of information; however, the expectation that once we use this information, we will become intellectually superior never occurs (Carr, 2010). Initially, our attention spans have significantly reduced which means that people consume less information than what they could have ordinarily done. Just as Carr asked himself on whether or not Google is making us stupid, we are also forced to do the same. It is clear that the more time we spend online, the worse our concentration on complex details may become.
Carr (2008) asserts that the human brain is malleable and introduces a concept known as intellectual technologies. This means that people embody the technology they possess. Carr utilizes a mechanical clock as an example, and he states: ”The invention of the mechanical clock helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences. However, he says that this, along with numerous other instances in technology, created a powerful dichotomy. In deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep, to rise, we stopped listening to our senses, and started obeying the clock”. Carr here elucidates that after the creation of the mechanical clock, our lives have become too structured.
Additionally, this helps in making the point that with all the technological innovation, we have become significantly mechanical and less human. Even though this argument is compelling, the whole premise is wrong. Time-keeping has been around for centuries and has been pivotal in the evolution of civilization. Clocks are essential references that assist in keeping people active and on-task.
Carr admitted that as a culture, people currently read a lot more because of the internet. However, he interjected that: “our ability to interpret a text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged.” Due to our insatiable demand for information, we have created superficial skimming, influential media and fast communication with the assistance of the internet. People currently want and need more. Technology can be partly blamed since it has destroyed the isolation of distance and also what happens in the world around us (Carr, 2010). This is mainly due to people and numerous internet users becoming accustomed to reading smaller and smaller portions of texts. This is directly associated with the weakening of such a person’s ability to think things out for themselves. The internet, however, has made the world more relevant as people now have the necessary resources such as the internet to share relevant information on current world events, problems and solutions to social issues (Calvo, & D’Mello, 2011).
Is Google making us stupid focuses on the adverse effects that technology can ultimately have on the human mind. It does not entirely deny the whole element of technology but mainly informs the society that there are negative implications on the overreliance of the internet as well. Carr offers recommendations on the importance of being vigilant on the issues associated with the use of the internet and more importantly, search engines such as Google. He utilizes cause and effect, substantial evidence and the relationship between technology and the users. It is therefore clear that we should not be concerned on how Google makes us stupid, but the manner that technology shapes and alters the way that our minds work.
Personal discipline has an essential role in the manner that we use the internet. Several temptations may destroy our attention span, critical thinking and also concentration which can be successfully avoided. Nicholas Carr effectively highlights how we form connections towards the devices that we utilize for communication. They simplify our lives, but it also comes at a cost. Is Google making us stupid creates awareness of the act that we should be highly cautious not to be enslaved to technology. Considering that our critical thinking is also at risk, Carr blames it on less reading due to our decreased attention spans on specific tasks.
Technology and the internet have enhanced our abilities and increased our processing speeds for acquiring knowledge. This has made the human brain more efficient in executing various tasks at once. Therefore, Google is not making us stupid. Google and the internet are significantly assisting all individuals in reclaiming their human legacy and also learning through a fast exchange of ideas within a social setting. Google is making us smarter as we re-discover new and better ways to learn.