For the last decade, the internet has given us access to more information than we could have ever imagined, all at the click of a button. However, is that something to be thankful for? Nicholas Carr discussed in his article Is Google Making Us Stupid the negative impacts the internet is having on our brains cognitive functions. Although I do agree with Carrs presumption about the internet causing our brains to change the way we acquire knowledge and understand it, I disagree that it is making us stupid.
After analyzing Carrs argument, the most predominant point he argues is that the use of the internet, including sites such as google, will negatively alter our brains cognition. Carrs point of view comes from someone who did not grow up with the internet, but was introduced to it later on in life which gives him the belief that books and articles are more superior to the internet. Unlike my generation, where we grew up with advance technology and from what we can tell it hasnt made us any less intelligent than other generations. Whether or not his claim about our brains is actually true, Carr does not supply any factual evidence proving his hypothesis. Though no real evidence is provided, Carr does include some corroboration from his own experiences and that from people he knows.
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Not only does Carr believe that the internet is having an effect on our brains, he also points out that its changed the media and ways we communicate, especially during the last decade. As Carr points out, never has a communications system played so many roles in our lives or exerted such broad influence over our thoughts as the Internet does today (Carr 321). In todays world, we have things like cell phones and laptops, which connect to all things internet, including google! Carrs correct in this sense when he says, the human brain is almost infinitely malleable (Carr 319), because we have been able to further improve and subsume technology into our daily lives.
From my point of view, Carrs strongest argument is definitely when he states the impact that internet has had on humanity. Compared to fifty years ago, today if someone needed to figure out some sort of problem they could use the internet because it, is a machine designed for the efficient and automated collection, transmission, and manipulation of information (Carr 323) and not only does this process save time, but it also eliminates the frustration of looking through hundreds of different articles and books. On the other end of the spectrum Carr makes the argument that the internet is negatively affecting the way that we think and comprehend. It goes without saying that this is Carrs weaker argument because he has no evidence to prove himself otherwise. Even Carr himself states that, anecdotes alone dont prove much. And we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition (Carr 316) which leads readers to believe that what Carr is saying is not true.
Since the author focuses mainly on the negative effects the internet has in large quantities on our brains, its safe to assume that his intended audience are the people who regularly use the internet. When addressing the issue, he uses personal experiences which allows him to connect to these regular internet users. Not only are these experiences connecting to the readers who have dealt with the same things, its also helping convince readers who disagree or dont have an opinion, sway to his side of the argument. Since it seems like he knows what he is talking about, readers will most likely agree with him.
With whats being addressed throughout the article, which is our brain cognition, Carr keeps more of a serious tone. When concluding his article Carr says, as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence (Carr 328) which emphasizes how important it is that we realize what the internet is doing to our brains. Overall the tone is just serious because he is justifying his argument by giving examples and evidence.
Personally, I could not identify anywhere that the author addresses the counterargument. Carr does talk about the different effects that the internet has on us, like the effect on our brains cognition and the effect it has had on our social behavior, which is the way we communicate. The effect on social behavior could count as a counter argument because he does explain the positive that have come from the internet such as, watching videos and listening to podcasts (Carr 314), but because he does not address it any further I would not consider this the counterargument in this article.
From what Carr was claiming and the evidence he gave to support his argument, I do not see this as a convincing or effective argument. None of the evidence he gave was even remotely reliable. To have made his claim more dependable, he should have used actual case studies that focus on the neurological status when using the internet in large periods of time. As Carr stated, we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition (Carr 316), so there wasnt anything that Carr could do to reliably backup him claim. Unlike Carr suggests, I do not believe that Google is making us stupid, but it is making us lazy.
This argument fits into the larger issue that we are all spending way too much time on the internet, and if it is not effecting our mental health now, it is certainly possible that it can start if we keep going at the rate we are going. The internet may have enhanced our way of life and has changed the way we acquire knowledge in a good way, but it is still good to give yourselves a break from technology.
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