In the article ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’ Nicholas Carr asserts that the use of internet is making people’s minds change, if not go. Indeed he asserts that using the internet for long has rendered him, as well as many others useless in thinking. The reasoning is that one can no longer think as they used to do simply due to the influence of Google on the cognitive functions. The article quotes from various personalities including bloggers and pathologists in a bid to supporting the writer’s arguments. It is squarely based on the confessions of the characters in the article who attest to the fact that Google had a negative effect on their cognitive functions. While such assertions are welcome, they are subject to debate and do not represent the Gospel truth of the matter. The assertion that Google makes us dumber is fallacious and utterly untrue. It is only an opinion with no scientific basis.
The assertion that people are losing memory just because of using Google is not true per se. The only thing that Google is doing to our memory is changing the route from the norm to the technological friendly form. In essence, it is not true that our ability to remember is being changed by using Google. Rather, Google is only changing the way we remember things. Change is inevitable and will continue to be part of us as long as we remain cognitive creatures. Every day, people will discover better ways of doing things that will enhance our livelihoods including the way we think. As thus, the fact that Google is changing how we remember things (Carr, pp 5) is only natural and should not be a cause of worry. The implication of this change is that people remember less of the information but remember where to find the information. What this implies is that people have now changed their memory storages and choose to store the same in other areas. It is the same thing as having a computer hard disc and storing the computer’s information in it.
To say that our thinking is being hindered by the use of Google is also not true. Rather, people have only changed their thinking to suit the current trends. In fact, science has shown that the mind is able to adapt to its environment (Carr, pp 7) and will deal with the pressures to succeed. In fact, using Google does improve our brain’s ability to respond to stimuli faster and in the most effective ways. The rerouting of memory enables our brain to develop many other different memory capabilities that it formerly never had. The mind’s role is shifted from that of cramming facts to a form of repository that knows where to find any information. The writer attests to the importance of this fact in stating that ‘the advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many.’ (Carr, pp 3) For instance, if someone asked me which country is the most populated in the world, my mind will not think in terms of each country’s population. Rather, it will embark on thinking about the keywords that can be used to retrieve the exact data required. In this respect, the mind does not contain all the information, but contains the folders that lead one to the information.
The assertion that people who use Google often are prone to having a poor reading culture is also not true. It is true that they do skim through written blogs (Carr, pp 8) but this is only in preparation to reading. Just like the traditional book skimming, internet skimming is also important in identifying information that one needs otherwise there is no wisdom in reading what one does not need. Skimming is a natural process that saves people the time they would have lost in attaining unimportant information. There is also no evidence to show that the lack of concentration in reading articles is attributable to the usage of Google. What the writer presents is a speculative pointer towards a possible cause of the lackadaisical reading culture but it is not necessarily true. I am testament of the fact that one can read long pieces of articles but that is dependent on what one peruses through in the internet. The internet is like a library but with only one section which is not marked. The longer one uses it, the more efficient they become in its utilization.
It is true that people’s brains are changing but its not true that the only reason they are changing is because of using Google too often. In addition, the change is not enough reason to worry as it is a natural process that our brains have become accustomed to over the years. The fact that our brains are changing does not spell doom for the human population but is rather a benefit of sorts. Our brains are not being destroyed as the article suggests but are only changing for the better. The writer contradicts himself in the article and uses selective judgment to come up with the conclusion even when the premises in the text point otherwise. In fact, looked through a keen eye, the article has enough evidence to show that Google makes us smarter.
Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Atlantic 30 July 2008: 1-16. Retrieved on Nov 17, 2015 from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/
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