Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The article Is Google Making Us Stupid by Nicholas Carr focuses on how the internet has changed the minds of readers. First, he introduces an example from the movie 2001. The scene features the character Dave unplugging the malfunctioning machine, HAL.  He then  theorizes that being online often has caused him to struggle reading long passages. Since the internet has become our main source of information, it has affected our ability to perform other functions. Although the internet has immediate access to information, it is making our brains somewhat artificial like robots. Throughout the article, Carr provides several examples to support his claim. One example includes that his friends also are having trouble reading. The more they surf the web, the more they have to fight to stay focused. He concludes the article with examples of what we are losing by using the internet has our main source of information.

Carr talks about how Bruce Friedman, a pathologists can barely read a blog post of more than three or more paragraphs. This really resonated with me because I am experiencing the same thing. The entire article touches on the same issues I have been having lately. I am no longer interested in reading books, and when I do have to read, I have to make myself stay focused. My mind wanders to other things on the web. Carr provides several examples to show how the web has affected our cognition. He states that the web is so popular and has affected so many people because it is our medium of choice. The most interesting example was the one that featured  Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist. She states that when we read online, we become “mere decoders” of information. Our ability to interpret text and make mental connections becomes disengaged. The Friedrich Nietzsche example emphasized that our writing or reading equipment changes and affects the way we form thoughts. Carr also emphasized that process of adapting new intellectual technologies is reflected in the metaphors we use to explain ourselves. Perhaps the most critical example was the one that featured Google. Carr states that Google creators are striving to make Google an artificial intelligence. I agree with Carr that the idea of wanting human brains to be supplemented or replaced with artificial intelligence is unsettling. It is crazy to think that our minds should operate the same as high speed processing machines. Carr closes the article with the example from 2001. People have become so machine like that the most human character of the movie turned out to be the machine. He states that the more we rely on computers for understanding, our own intelligence will turn artificial.


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