Is Google making us stupid? Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 15 May 2016

Is Google making us stupid?

As days pass by in front of our eyes and as the generations are changing, the world is changing dramatically and being remodeled to where Google is the book of answers. Life isn’t as challenging for our community and does not push anyone to put in any effort as it did Fifty years ago. Nicholas Carr has every right to publish this article on how reading isn’t the same anymore. Books can be looked at as rare no-a-days, something that’s going to be extinct in a few decades. Our parents learned about the world and its news in the Newspaper. When students wanted to learn about the moon or had a paper that needed to be written, it was the library that helped them, not Google. Instead of clicking away, they flipped pages and no words were skimmed or wasted. At a point in time, people needed to make an actual effort to live and expand their mind with actual knowledge. Carr’s biggest claim was his opinion on the internet, he gives us the idea that the internet is giving people the chance to become lazier than ever and still assume that they will get things done. The internet allows people to put their brains aside collecting dust and forget about books because “Google” always has another shortcut for them. Carr proves this using many of his own experiences, quotes, and studies from other authors such as Scott Kurp and Bruce Friedman.

We all want the world to progress and never stop moving forward, but to what extent. Fifteen years ago, as a child I didn’t go on YouTube using my mom’s Samsung Galaxy or an Ipad. As kids, we had coloring books and had 100 Book challenge. It challenged students to read 100 books in a year at a very young age, unlike now where kids are on Instagram, Carr says “For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium….” (Carr 1). It’s clear he has a point. The internet is wiping out all classics starting with things that challenged kids to read, and replacing them with search engines that teach us the more clicks, the faster we get an assignment done. Carr states many times how the internet is molding the minds of not only the young but even the older generations who grew up on books. Carr seems as if he sees Google as a drug that supplies the speed and knowledge we think we need, but leaves out the effort and actual joy of reading a book cover to cover simply because we don’t care for the extra words.

The effect of the internet has reached everyone, from the youngest of our kids, to the most successful authors. Nicholas Carr realized how addicting it is, and who much of a routine it became to drop our books and click our brains away to something that feeds us just enough to survive until the next day. Bruce Friedman said, “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print” (Carr 2). Friedman is a pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School. He is someone who is familiar with the high demands of reading and studious efforts needed to succeed. Unfortunately, he is another victim of the internet and its appealing however corrupting characteristics. Bruce Friedman admits that he now, like everyone else, skims and describes the way he thinks as “staccato”. Friedman also says “I can’t read War and Peace anymore …I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it” (Carr 3). A page even needs to be skimmed. Carr points out that when we skim how do we know we aren’t skimming things we would actually need in life. It’s as if people only want the flavor out the food, but not the nutritious aspects of the meal.

It seems as if the faster the internet gets and the more tools we have to access it, the lazier we get. Carr is in terror only because he sees the world changing. For many, it’s an amazing change that we need to move forward, for Nicholas Carr, it’s a nightmare that people are forgetting the feel of opening a book and realizing that every word, and that the actual process of reading the book is worth a thousand links from Google. Carr states how majority of the people, whether they are authors, teachers, or students, don’t have the mindset of capacity to concentrate for the length of even the simplest articles because of their regular internet usage and abuse for a search engines such as “Google.” Nicholas Carr gives us a very old example of how people adapt to things so quickly it becomes an addiction. Carr mentions Friedrich Nietzsche’s usage of a typewriter, a fairly new technology in the 1880s, back then it was their “Google”. Carr states how Nietzsche’s prose style changed when he started using a typewriter, which he had started to use because of his difficulty with writing by hand due to failing eyesight. Carr proceeds to explain that research has demonstrated that the brain’s neural circuitry can in fact be rewired. Therefore the brain is like clay, and if molded into something that is lazy and not as useful, that piece of clay, the brain, will harden up and be very hard to remold into something that is beneficial and used for more than clicking from link to link.

At a point, I thought Nicholas Carr was writing this article to attack the internet and sites such as Google, but then realized he is attacking the way we use them, and have turned them into the “gods” of knowledge. The more research he does, the more he realizes the vast amount of people this has affected. Carr mentions Marshall McLuhan and states how he too, from the 1960’s experienced something of this nature. McLuhan states “media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation” (Carr 4). The more we choose to leave books aside and go one the web, the more parts of our concentration and brain rust away with very little chances of repair. Sooner or later, it will be too late. Reading a book, we had the chances to break it down in our own way, interpreted it as we pleased, we basically feed ourselves. Contrary to that, the internet does everything for us, we let it spoon feed us in a way that could be harmful for us, but yet we are still satisfied because the amount of effort we are putting in is close to nothing.

Me, as a member of the new generation and a college student, I am no stranger to this topic; to pretty much sum up Nicholas Carr’s main point and say that we’re just lazy. Our minds and bodies don’t want to disburse excess energy nor the effort, that the feel of a book is strange in our hands. In the past, kids had board games, cards, games, and challenges that involved picking up a book and reading. They couldn’t spend all their time messaging their friends or updating their Instagram. This generation isn’t forced to think or feed their own minds because they have technology that sits them down and does everything for them, eventually, turning them into robots killing their brains click by click. The benefits or harm that the Internet can bring strictly decided widely on how it is used, or abused. As people, we should want to scuba dive in the sea of words, not zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski. If we let Internet take over our minds, eventually no one will even come close to the sea of words or even enter it.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

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  • Date: 15 May 2016

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