Parker Balders

Professor Romas

English 101

February 8 2017

I read the article, “Is Google Really Making us Stupid”, and at first glance it was a very convincing.The writer Nicholas Carr make his opinions very front and forward. I read over it a second time, but this time I tried to keep a m
ore open mind about what others critics may say about the article and radically changed the way I thought about this article. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Nicholas Carr opinions on the matter of the internet, but there are some opinions he had I want to address. First, I want to summaries the story, then give my opinions.

The writer Nicholas Carr starts the article by using a scene from a movie called “2001: A Space Odyssey”. He does this to express his feeling towards where the future may end up being and his feeling toward technology today. He says that he’s been feeling like his brain is slowly being rewired and manipulated. That deep concentrated reading of articles and books he use to have, is now gone. The writer then says,”The Internet was a godsend”, because of how easy and accessible information is to obtain. Then he proclaims he once was a deep reader really reading articles and books, and now he only skims the surfaces of these detailed readings. Also, that some of his acquaintances have had the same phenomenon happen to them, such as long time blogger, teachers, article writers, and even medical experts. The University College London started a research program on the study of these behaviors, by using a research website operated by the British Library, and the other by U.K. educational consortium. They found that people using the website use a form of skimming while looking into these reading, some students don’t even make it past the 2nd page. Which leads Nicholas Carr to believe that there’s more reading today then the 1970’s or 1980’s, and that internet reading is a different type of reading. Then he quotes a psychologist, Maryanne Wolf, who states, that “Reading the Web is all about efficiency and immediacy, which could be weakening our capacity of deep thought”. She also says that reading doesn’t come as an instinctive skill and that deep reading and reading the Web are two different things in our brains. Nicholas Carr then brings up another example of how technologies of old have molded our day-to-day lives such as the typewriter and the clock. He says that these technologies are almost controlling us, and that were not controlling them. The writer explains how our concentration is diffused through the crazy nature of the internet, such as hyperlinks, blinking ads, smaller news clippings, and much more. This style of thinking has made newspapers, and column writers have to significantly shorten their writings to make it catch the viewer, then bore them. Frederick Winslow Taylor, who had designed a way to improve the efficiency of factory productivity, which is said to still be used today by computer engineer’s. Such as the actual Google operating system. They want to build Google into a self ran artificial intelligence that can receive information on its own, and become smart then all of us. Nicholas Carr then gives his opinion on how he believes that artificial intelligence will replace our own brains, and we will soon become these computing machines and that Google wants to take the information we digest and use it to make itself smart. He then says that everyone worries about new technology and then quotes Plato’s Phaedrus. He then goes back to the Gutenberg’s printing press and a critic of the press whose name was Hieronimo Squarciafico. Hieronimo says, that “The press would lead to intellectual laziness because of the easy accessibility which was mostly correct”. He says “to be skeptical of the internet”, and then review of things he has said. He then says a quote from Richard Foreman. He then talks about the Stanley Kubrick film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, questioning if our intelligence flattens to artificial intelligence.

        First, I don’t disagree with Nicholas Carr, but at the same time I do. These are my opinions in chronological order starting from the beginning of the summary. I love how the writer makes this eye-catching transition in the beginning by quoting a famous scene from “2001: A Space Odyssey”, making you really intrigued to read on. I think it’s strange that he writes about this loss of concentration. The writer proclaims that you lose concentration, because of theses big urges to grab your phone like you’re addicted to it. I don’t think that the Internet makes you any less concentrated though. I think that it distracts you and makes you anxious to go back on it, but I also don’t think it takes away any less concentration that you already posses. I think it’s very cool that he gives us some facts on the matter, by proclaiming that students skim over sources and articles. I still don’t think that is a loss of concentration I believe it’s mind laziness. When your mind sees this never-ending sense of none interesting words it tends to want to get through it as soon as possible or even ignore it if possible, not affecting deep thinking but affecting the interest factor of words. An example of this is when you search and search for that one answer or section you needed for a research project or something, you don’t want to have to read through this lengthy article to get it, when you can just find it in the next article right away. This is why I believe with today’s generation we like fiction writing and movies so much. I believe this whole technology is controlling us is pretty wacky and fake. Technology has never controlled us we control it, I could throw my phone out the window and that would be that. He also brings up this crazy nature to the internet, with hyperlinks, and ads, but those don’t have to do anything with the argument in my opinion. In the section where he talks about being worried that Google and other machines are going to take over is kinda outlandish. He rants about our minds being replaced by these super powers who, I think, just want to help advance technology. He then claims that it’s unsettling, well of course it does, but it’s only because his wording is making it sound that way. I absolutely agree that intellectual laziness is a thing that is happening, and needs to be fixed. Then finally the writer says to “Always make sure to be skeptical”, I believe this statement very much.

    In the end this story was very well put together, and was very intriguing. It made me think very critically on where I stand in this situation. I thought long and hard on if I had theses symptoms. Such as the lost of my attention and skimming, and I will admit I had forms of these problems. The ending is very anticlimactic leaving us with still if Google is making us stupid, but I believe it’s a good thing to do. It gets us thinking about if it really is changing, he almost asks you to question yourself and your abilities. Is Google really changing us and our lifestyles, or is it just a habit that you can ditch?