Cody Janowski 12/2/10 English Comp Assignment 4 The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way people live their lives. Any information we could possibly want- and more- is at our disposal, and has made life for us incredibly convenient and easy; some, however, might say too easy. One of these people is Nicholas Carr, author of the article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” featured in the July/August 2008 edition of The Atlantic. Carr argues that the Net seems to be slowly demolishing our abilities to concentrate on one subject, as well as contemplate information, based on the ease of access to everything the Internet provides today. I agree with Carr to an extent; however I would say that his theory most certainly does not apply to everyone.
He compares and contrasts how his life was with the Web and without it. For example, “Just as Microsoft Word had turned me into a flesh-and-blood word processor, the Internet, I sensed, was turning me into something like a high-speed data-processing machine, a human HAL (325). The Web has changed him in such a way that he felt like a machine. He wanted to stay connected, therefore, he would yearn to check his e-mail, click links, or explore on Google. He noticed the Net was having a much stronger influence over him than his PC ever had (324).
The Internet has helped reading to evolve. Who would want to wait around for a newspaper or a magazine to come out when clicking on just one link brings the latest news up with in seconds for reading pleasure. Carr says, “It was Hungry” (Carr16).What he is trying to say is that after using the internet his brain is constantly searching for new information. The more he used the internet to gain information or to read, the more his brain wanted new
Though the Internet is the main subject of his argument, Carr provides insight on other developments as well. By touching on the inventions of such inventions as the map and the clock, he explains that both “changed the way we saw ourselves and the way we thought” (55) and provides example of his idea that the modernization of technology changes our thought process. He illustrates through historical references, the progression of how we read and write. Such examples include: writing on stones and wood, upgraded to papyrus, to tablets, to paper, to typewriters, to computers. Growing up in a time that was predominately print rather than computer, Carr is quick to favor print reading.
While Carr’s arguments lead to the viable point that technology is now so deeply riveted into the fabric of our lives that we have lost control over its influence on us, he is not the first to be concerned. According to Carr, Socrates thought very little of the advancement of writing due to the fact that it would force society to forfeit the use of their memory because of the abundance of written material that would then be available. He also believed that people would, without receiving knowledge from credible sources, rely alone on their own interpretation of information and in turn become ignorant. Carr sees Socrates’ way of thinking as “short-sighted,” even though his argument in relationship to the internet mirrors that of Socrates’. Google has “[served] to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge” today in the same way that the development of writing expanded the mind of an individual in the first century (Carr 8).
This article is a direct response to Nick Carr’s argument. Maria Bustillos points out the flaws in his argument while supporting the fact that the Internet is indeed making us smarter and has been for years now. She believes that our brains are adapting to this new technology making it easier to obtain new knowledge. She states that the Internet is actually training our brains and making them stronger. By this she means allowing us to learn more in a shorter time frame.
Nicholas Carr is the author of the article “Is Goggle making us stupid? Google proponents say that it’s not, they say that we don’t have to use our memory as much as before. Thanks to Google we have more time now to daydream or brainstorm. Or that we can see Google as an huge external hard disk for our brain. Carr thinks that this is bullshit.
They can choose to engage in deep thinking activities. Too much of anything is not good for any one, and this also applies to internet usage. Scholars say that the price of technology is alienation and that this indicates that the more distracted an individual becomes, the less able they are to experience human emotions such as empathy and compassion. It is still too early to tell what the results of the future effects of the internet, but as Carr states, “An intellectual technology exerts its influence by shifting the emphasis of our thought. As the brain adapts to the new medium, the most profound changes will take place over several generations’
By using the internet as a resource, we depend on it by quickly finding answers to all our questions in a matter of minutes which changes how we process information. Carr states that we become too dependent and almost expect to find answers so quickly since it sensually serves its purpose of being convenient to people who are trying to get answers right away and eliminate having to read longer texts. Carr, Nicholas. “Rural>City>Cyberspace: The Biggest Migration in Human History.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings. Ed.
It speeds up the retrieval and dissemination of information, partially eliminating such chores as going outdoors to the mailbox or the adult bookstore, or having to pick up the phone to get hold of your stockbroker or some buddies to shoot the breeze with. That one thing the Internet does, and only that.” * - Tom Wolfe, from Digibabble, Fairy Dust, and the Human Anthill in Hooking Up (published in 2000) Established only a few decades ago, the Internet itself is a neutral device originally designed for easing researches and studies among academic and military structures. The Internet is a system of enormous technical and social complexity.