Is Google Making Us Stupid?

In his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” published in The Atlantic Monthly on July 2008, technology writer Carr argues that the internet has damaging effects on cognition that reduces the human capacity to contemplate and concentrate (Carr). Carr’s article, however, does not confine at Google only, but the entire internet and the World Wide Web. Despite Mr. Carr admitting that there is a lack of support through scientific literature to explain where this advancement in technology is leading the world. The use of studies to support arguments makes the author’s assertions relevant in making his point even though there are opinionated views that required backing if they are to be considered valid for the targeted audience.

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The author argues that the internet has become a conduit of information flowing unstoppably. It has increased access to this information in a quick way than the archaic methods of huge volumes of books and newspapers. According to Carr, spending much time on the internet however causes little or no concentration while reading a book or any other hardcopy materials. He says it has even affected the employers’ mentality that those who understand the internet are more valuable and easily employed compared to those who have the facts. However, an IQ for an adult person can be influenced either way by reading anything. The internet has had changed in our social resources and depression. However, the way people use the internet differently has different changes in the wellbeing. Therefore, the people’s social resources moderate these changes. The use of the internet for everyone involves communication which is closely associated with people’s social resources and psychological well-being. People revolving around communication have more resources- large social network, close relationships, community ties and perceived social support. This therefore grants them more psychological functioning for greater happiness. In contrast, those who with fewer social resources are more likely to have poor psychological functioning.

The validity of the presented information is a critical factor considering that the subject is a contentious one. It is particularly important to highlight that the supporting evidence is backed up by studies to warrant the authenticity of the information. Carr seems to agree with the fact that modern reading is ambiguous as it was in the early 1970s because it is a different kind of reading. He worries that the reading style promotes “efficiency” it weakens our capacity for reading in the earlier technologies. However, to back up the argument he makes, he mentions that studies suggest that the human brain is dynamic such they are influenced not only by way we read, but also, by what we read. It is shown that researchers have identified that the most prolific Google users experience fast growth of brain activity more than their other counterparts. It includes the development in advanced decision making and complex reasoning skills. This implies that using Google does not necessarily change our earlier aspects of reading negatively.

It is further affirmed that an essay such as the one by Carr requires backing from the apprehension that supporting scholarly works enable the reader to make sense and differentiate between facts and fiction. There are many instances in the writing of the article where the author evidently posits ideas that are personal opinions and they cannot be considered to be worthy of a research paper. For example, Carr believes that the internet to be addictive. He argues that he has spent a lot of time online critiquing the data base of the hypothesis as it is supposed to have exceeded more than a decade. He states “The human brain is almost infinitely malleable. People used to think that our mental meshwork, the dense connections formed among the 100 billion or so neurons inside our skulls, was largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood.” (Carr). It is clear that the observation is a personal opinion and if it has to be considered relevant in scholarly journals, then supporting references out to be provided. Only then would the argument that the internet community has made it easier to access information will make sense to the reader.

In the writing of the article, the author considered an assertive tone when he mentions that with Google, multitasking has been made easier as one can search for a variety of things at one instance. The purpose is to remind the reader that while it could be perceived as something positive, the effect it has on the brain is that it worsens one’s memory. It is however, interesting that the targeted audience are scholars in the field of child development and human interaction because the author argues that it has scientifically been proven that multitasking deteriorates short term memories over a given period of time. Nevertheless, the message is underlined that the role of technology in delivering information is and has been explosive despite this path performance being poorly misunderstood.


Works Cited

Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid.” The Atlantic (2008): n. pag. Web.