The University of New Haven’s Academic Integrity Policy.
Is It Really Only Google?
Nicholas Carr’s article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” (313-328), asserts that the Internet and technology at large have affected the way we think critically and generally and has changed how we focus on any piece of text in front of us.
The author backs up this claim by giving examples from personal anecdotes and portions of research conducted by a range of universities and other sources. Similarly, Carr’s purpose is to point out the fact that people have become “machine-like” in order to jolt a sense of realization into the reader and see if we, as humans, become less dependent on technology to do all of our work for us; to see if we begin to use our concentration and critical thinking just as we used to before technology began to take over our lives, as he implies. His use of many metaphors emphasizes how the technology we cling to slows us down, “Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words, now I zip along the surface like a guy on a jet ski” (315).
By referring to the fact that he is slowing down because of all of the changes that technology has unintentionally made him do, a point he makes evident throughout the whole of the piece, the reader gains insight on exactly what he is trying to argue. Carr’s argument about technology making us slower, or stupid, as the title of his article suggests, is extremely useful because it sheds light on the difficult problem of the probable illnesses and addictions people can acquire from the constant, unstoppable use of technology. While what Carr argues explains what technology is doing to us, he failed to mention what the more detrimental aspects of depending on technology could do to us in the long run.
After constant and persistent use of technology, developing eye strain (in addition to other eye problems), hearing loss, insomnia, and even nomophobia – the fear of not having our cell phones with us twenty-four-seven – is not as far away as we initially thought because of the large amount of time we spend using technology to facilitate our lives (Diez, 2017). And even if we don’t think laziness to be a problem when we have technology to depend on, it is still part of the issue just as well as any illness we can acquire from a dependence of technology.
To fully expand on this point, research conducted by Digital Responsibility (http://www.digitalresponsibility.org/health-and-technology/) explained that other than the aforementioned illnesses and single addiction I mentioned, “being overly connected can cause psychological issues such as distraction, narcissism, the expectation of instant gratification, and even depression”. And although Carr is right about Google making us stupid, he barely even touches upon the fact that relying on technology can gravely damage us if abused in the way it’s being abused.
How can we constantly be on a social media outlet but not be able to read and critically analyze a piece of text? Which then leads me to question if it’s really only Google affecting us.On the other hand, to support his claim that technology is slowing us down, Carr used 2001: A Space Odyssey as an example as the introduction to his article to demonstrate how we, as humans, without noticing, are slipping into the technology trap (313). HAL, a supercomputer that served as a character in the aforementioned movie, kept saying that he “can feel his mind going” as his artificial brain was being disconnected (313). Carr cleverly made the connection of saying that he “can feel” not his mind going but changing because of the way technology is holding him back; he can feel that he is not thinking the same way he used to and not is not reading the same way that he used to. “The Net,” he said, “seems to be […] chipping away [his] capacity for concentration and contemplation.” (315).
His assertion makes sense because the Internet’s job is to make our lives easier, meaning that with us reclining on it to give us what we need, when we need it, and how we need it. The extensive use of the Internet has affected how we search for information. We barely even look into a piece of text for a longer period of five or maybe ten minutes on a good day to find information pertinent to a topic we want or need to learn more about. “The Web has been a godsend” (314), Carr stated, because of how easy it is to do research now as opposed to the pre-technological revolution period where people would walk a block or two to get a hold of a book. Since we see – or think – that extensive reading is not a pressing matter, we no longer do so… we simply scan texts. “As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence,” (328) is what Carr responded to the daunting realization of what he thought 2001: A Space Odyssey’s message was.
His realization is not at all far from what today’s reality has become when it comes to technology making us slower in some areas, but hastier in others. Carr has made it possible for a reader, such as myself, to consider something that I never even considered before: Are machines becoming more like humans, or are we becoming more like them? We have been so inclined to the change we are enduring that we haven’t realized that we’re becoming slower and lazier simply because we are allowing ourselves to be consumed by the newer technology and search engines that are replacing our way of thinking and our day-to-day habits. And if we are not careful enough as we concentrate on things that are less important than exercising our critical thinking and analyzing such as social media and other irrelevant things, it might trigger a detrimental change we may not want to endure.
W. W. Norton & Company. “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, With Readings, edited by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel K. Durst, Norton, 2018, pp. 313-328
Diez Bosch, Miriam. The 10 Technological Diseases Affecting Us Today, Aleteia https://aleteia.org/2017/11/17/the-10-technological-diseases-affecting-us-today/. Accessed September 10, 2018.
Digital Responsibility: Health and Technologyhttp://www.digitalresponsibility.org/health-and-technology/. Accessed September 11, 2018.