July 14, 2008

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Nicholas Carr recently wrote an article for the Atlantic Monthly about what he believes the Internet is doing to people's brains. Carr's, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" asks the question over whether people are relying far too much on the Internet for instant access to information, and changing the ways we think and altering "our understanding of the world."

Below are two short reactions to Carr's popular article.

Reaction #1
Nicholas Carr may ask the question, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, but his clear answer is that it certainly isn’t helping us think critically or deeply. Carr draws some comparisons to other technological advances in history, including writing and the printing press, fairly noting that although certain prominent thinkers of the time were certain we would see detrimental results in society’s collective cognition, the opposite is generally true. Carr is obviously skeptical of a positive affect of technology on the brain and learning. He raises good questions that amount to a consideration of how much “concentration and contemplation” actually occurs with an increase in technology and the future outcome of this change in learning. Whether you are concerned or celebratory of the change technology has made in learning, addressing the philosophical issues of “What is important to learn?” and “How can we best learn it?” will remain at the forefront and Carr gives us such an opportunity to reflect.

Reaction #2

"So, yes, you should be skeptical of my skepticism," is what Carr offers as a disclaimer after he essentially writes about the negative affects the Internet has on how people think and read. He proposes anecdotal evidence to support his assertion that the Internet is somehow controlling what people read, how they read, their reading and comprehension habits and, ultimately, how people think. He makes a formidable attempt to show how the giants of the Internet, like Google, have a predetermined plan to alter the web surfers intelligence. His argument is not the greatest defense of his overarching thesis, but he does ask a worthy question. It would be interesting to see what academic studies would say about how the Internet has morphed people's minds.

Please take a look at Carr's article and feel free to post your reaction or thoughts about it. Here is a link to Carr's article: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

What do you think about the article and suppositions?

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