Is Google Making us Stupid Summary by Nicolas Carr

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The article “Is Google making us stupid” was published in the Atlantic magazine of August 2008 and written by Nicolas Carr. This brief summary shows an analysis of the main theme of the article which is the manner in which Google and the World Wide Web has interfered with the cognition abilities of people hence making it difficult for them to concentrate or understand things. Nicolas gives an example of how difficult he finds it to read books of late due to the amount of time that he spends on the internet. He also adds the information of different researchers such as the Maryanne Wolf and Friedrich Kittler among others.


Nicolas points out about Wolf’s work that the ability of a person does not just occur to a person like speech but has to be taught so that it can rearrange the brain hence enabling it to interpret the different signs and symbols. However, based on this argument, Carr acknowledges the fact that this difference in speech and reading does not have a backup from any psychological and neurological studies. The neural circuits in an individual’s brain are shaped by the requirements of a particular written language. Therefore, this results in a great difference between the neural circuits created by reading books and those obtained from reading articles across the internet. Books have intensive ideas that enable a person to brainstorm them in order to understand a concept. On the other hand, the internet has direct information that does not require thinking.

According to the article, an individual’s capacity of thinking can be weakened by the internet. This is true due to the fact that the internet has nearly all the answers to the possible questions that a person can ask. As a result, this leads to students not brainstorming ideas to come up with the correct answer. Instead, they just rush to the internet and paraphrase the available answers. An example is the increased usage of calculators to work out mathematical problems instead of thinking and calculating the answers using the brain. This makes it difficult for the students to calculate simple mathematics in daily life without the help of a calculator. Also, the use of spellcheck tools results to individuals who cannot spell particular words without the reliance on certain software across the internet.

In addition, Carr wrote that the intellectual technologies available in the current world have the ability to change the human brain because it adopts the various qualities of such technologies. He gave an example of Kittler’s argument that the prose writing of Nietzsche changed when he started using a typewriter as a result of eye problems. This means that the technology rewired the typewriter’s neural circuit. However, he points out that the extensive use of the internet has its advantages and disadvantages. The impact of the internet on the brain is far more felt than the impact that the intellectual technologies because it’s performing most of the technology’s services. As a result, human beings do not have to do much of the tasks, and this affects the comprehending power of the brain. The depth of the advantages and disadvantages of relying on the internet for most of the things vary from one individual to another.


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The article states that the internet has a general effect on people’s ability to concentrate due to the diversity of the materials that are available online. Among them are advertisements and notifications. In the case whereby they are relevant to the student, then there is a high possibility that they will quit reading what they intended to have and follow the advertisements and notifications. This makes it difficult for students to get valuable information since fun items have already diverted their attention. Carr wrote that the media had adopted this kind of presentation with the aim of beating the increasing competition.

According to Carr, Computer algorithms have taken the role of the human brain of contemplating information that used to be done manually by doing the same on the person’s behalf. He compares the internet with Taylor’s management system for improving labor productivity to show why workers complained of being turned into automatons. Google is one of Carr’s examples of companies that have applied Tylor’s theory to deliver robust information that reduces opportunities. Most of the tasks such as the organization of workflow processes and the creation of business models used to be done manually, but with the internet, there is software to carry out these tasks hence reducing the required workforce. This could be one of the negative impacts of the internet because it makes work easier at the expense of human beings. The collection of people’s information on the internet leads to companies capitalizing on users who rely on the various links other than paying attention to individuals with sustained thought.

According to specialists from CustomEssayOrder, technology has led to a lot of changes in the current world: some of which are negative while others are positive. Carr’s article is based on the negativity of the internet, and this is an indication that we already have a problem. Therefore, the article should have pointed out some of the things that can be done in order to deal with the problem at hand. This could include ways through which teachers can ensure that the internet is beneficial to student’s learning process when it comes to nurturing their mental abilities. Teachers have the largest responsibility in this task because they play a substantial role in the child’s development. Therefore, they should ensure that they limit students to the frequency of using the internet and automated software to engage their brains in the development of useful neural circuits. As a result, they will be able to contemplate information written on books instead of relying on the internet for everything.

The internet will always be there, and advancements are still taking places. Hence, if enough caution is not taken, then there is a possibility of having a future of individuals who cannot think on their own but have to google everything. As well, Carr’s article has sufficient information that is evident in today’s world hence making it relevant for use by other scholars during their research process.

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