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Is Google Making us Stupid? Essay

In Nicholas Carr’s essay titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” the author writes, “What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.” Carr is making his claim that the internet is ruining our ability to concentrate and that Google has come to change the way humans think. The emotion that Carr gives is that Google has taken advantage of the way we think with our brains and, by using the internet for most of our readings, we find ourselves feeling lost. Carr shows that he is upset on how this is happening, and he finds that he isn’t the only one, but others were feeling the same way. In addition, I will be analyzing Carr’s method using the Toulmin model; where I will break down his claims, data, warrants, backing and rebuttals that he may use through out his article.

To begin his essay Carr starts off with an example from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odysseys. He uses the supercomputer HAL, in this sense HAL is pleading because he cannot remember stating, “”Dave, my mind is going,” and forlornly says, “I can feel it; I can feel it”. Carr goes on to write that he can feel it too, “I’m not thinking the way I used to think” (pg4). The author feels what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away at the capacity for concentration and contemplation. Stating, “The Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind” (Carr 5).

Carr feels that since the internet has become one of people’s assets and then rely on it so much they are losing so much more. “Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks…” (Carr 5). Here you can see that the author is making a very precise claim about Google, in fact, within these two examples the message he is trying to get across is that he by using the internet for most of his daily readings has grown and has affected him and the people around him greatly.

Through out the article Carr argues not only the internet, but also Google themselves have become more manipulative and have changed the way us humans now think. He feels that, by being able to manipulate us, Google has been able to take advantage of our mind. Carr mentions “I’m not the only one”, but also mentions others are having the same experiences which then back up his idea and theory that Google is really much us stupid and it’s not just him that thinks so. Carr’s essay includes, “the more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing” (Carr 5). Bruce Friedman, a blogger “described how the Internet has altered his mental habits” (Carr 5). Additionally Carr says, “They found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited” as part of a five-year research program (Carr 5-6).

As Carr tries to explain he gets to the point of how skimming and hopping from source to source actually puts us at a disadvantage of what we are trying to get accomplished. The author goes on to use Maryanne Wolf who a developmental psychologist as an examples. Wolf expresses her worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net has put efficiency and immediacy above all else. With that she leaves her final statements as, “We can expect as well that the circuits woven by our use of the Net will be different from those woven by our reading of books and other printed works” (Carr 6). This evidence of sub claims shows how in depth Carr’s goes into his investigation to prove his point on how the transition of reading from books to the internet has become such a harmful addiction.

Carr easily understands this because not only has he admitted that it has affected him greatly because of the amount of time he spent online, but “Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after (Carr 5). In fact, I believe in Carr’s support, being able to have the internet and to be able to find the ability to read and communicate with people over the internet in the matter of seconds simply has changed everything. His research proves a great point having all this information feed to us with his a few clicks here and there have really made us lazy as a society.

Now that the internet has become part of our daily lives and grabs the attention of almost all; it has also become the starting point where people first start their work. This assumption is easily proven in Carr’s article and is very credible because it is not only the authors words he uses, but he mentions several other personal experiences that came from other readers regarding the effects of Google, all admitting they too had the loss of concentration while on the internet.

Overall, Carr’s article “Is Google making us stupid?” is very well written and has touch upon many key arguments discussing many downfalls of Google and the internet itself. Although I do agree with what Carr has stated in his article, I would not give the complete blame just to one source (Google), but all the global growing technology advancement that is occurring in our everyday life. It leaves us face with many shortcuts and instant readings that we may get from many different sources. As technology gets more advanced and people rely on news feeds on online resources and electronic billboards and text messages that mean less people will use books because many confess that they cannot manage to sit down to read a couple of pages or even paragraphs out of a book with out having the temptation of using the web.


Carr, Nicholas. “The Atlantic.” _The Atlantic_. The Atlantic, 01 July 2008. Web. 10 Sept. 2013.

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