Nicholas Carr is a technology writer and commentator. In his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, He explores the idea that the internet is affecting our ability to think deeply and critically.
Carr begins by recounting how he used to be able to read long, challenging books and articles, but now finds himself losing focus after just a few pages. He attributes this change to the fact that he spends so much time online, where he is constantly bombarded with information and distractions.
Carr is not alone in this experience; many other people have also found that they have difficulty sustaining attention on anything for more than a few minutes. This phenomenon has been dubbed “the Google effect.”
Some researchers believe that the reason for this is that the internet has trained our brains to expect constant stimulation and distraction. This is because, when we are online, we are bombarded with information and links to other websites, which can quickly lead us down a rabbit hole of distractions.
While some people believe that the internet is making us more intelligent by providing us with instant access to vast amounts of information, Carr argues that it may actually be having the opposite effect. He believes that the internet is causing us to lose our ability to think deeply and critically about information.
Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” is a summary of his book, which was published in 2015. As the internet provides us with the advantages of fast and easy information, it is changing our brains’ ability to read lengthy articles and books. The final scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which Dave destroys the memory circuits that control HAL, the spaceship’s artificial brain, marks the beginning of Is Google Making Us Stupid by Nicholas Carr. Carr believes that time he spends online is remolding his mind.
He used to be able to read long articles and books, but now he has attention trouble, and his ability to think deeply has diminished. He isn’t the only one that feels this way; his friends and colleagues have also expressed similar concerns.
The effects of the internet are not just mental; there are physical changes as well. A study done by Posit Science found that senior citizens who did eight hours of brain training exercises had an easier time completing everyday tasks than those who didn’t do the exercises. The internet is changing how our brains work, and not always for the better.
Carr argues that we’re not just passively using the internet; the internet is actively changing us. We’re becoming shallow thinkers, and losing our ability to engage in deep reading and critical thinking. The internet is causing us to think in short, choppy bursts instead of long, sustained thoughts. Google isn’t making us stupid; it’s making it harder for us to be smart.
The carpenter cannot focus long enough to read more than a few lines. Regardless of the usefulness of the internet, it appears to be affecting how our brains absorb information. He feels as though this brain needs to process data in the same way that the internet distributes it: in rapid torrents. Instead of a deep-sea diver, he compares himself to a guy on a jet ski. He can no longer concentrate or think straight.
Nicholas Carr believes that the internet is, “chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swift, distracted sampling of headlines, blog posts, videos, and other bits of intellectual flotsam.” Nicholas Carr is not alone in this belief. Scientists are beginning to study how the internet might be effecting our brains. In one study done by Posit Science, it was found that people who did not use the internet had better brain function than those who did.
The study found that those who used the internet had poorer attention spans, less focus, and were more easily distracted than those who did not use the internet. The group of scientists who conducted the study believe that this is because the internet encourages a shallow form of thinking. When we are constantly bombarded with small pieces of information, we never allow ourselves to go deep into any one thought or idea. Nicholas Carr believes that this shallow form of thinking is making us stupid.
It’s not just scientists and Nicholas Carr who believe that the internet is changing our brains. In a recent survey, 50% of American adults said they believed that the internet was having a negative effect on their ability to think deeply and critically. Only 3% said they thought the internet was having a positive effect on their ability to think deeply and critically.
Dr. Carr recounts the tale of two bloggers who are having difficulties reading and focusing, and believe that the internet is to blame. Carr acknowledges that while a recent University College London research suggests there may be some evidence that digital media harms the brain, no long-term studies have been done yet. We may be reading more now than we were when television was the main way of consuming information because to the amount of texting on cellphones and text on the Internet.
However, we are certainly not reading in the same way, or with the same level of comprehension. While there is no evidence that the internet is making us stupid, Nicholas Carr believes that it is rewiring our brains and changing the way we think. He argues that the constant distractions of the internet are causing us to lose our ability to focus and pay attention. He also believes that google is making us lazy by giving us instant access to information without requiring us to think for ourselves.
According to developmental psychologist Maryanne Wolf, the ability for deep reading that was bolstered by the printing press is being hampered by how the internet emphasizes ease and speed of information. Online reading has resulted in “mere decoders of information,” with a lack of engagement in text interpretation. While language is intuitive, reading must be learnt; research shows that our mental circuitry differs depending on the language we are reading.
The act of reading stimulates our brains, which in turn strengthens neural pathways. When we read online, we are often skimming and jumping from link to link, rather than reading deeply. This has implications for how we remember and process information. Nicholas Carr believes that the internet is rewiring our brains, making us less able to concentrate and think deeply about information.
While there is no doubt that the way we access information has changed dramatically in recent years, it is important to consider all sides of the argument before coming to a conclusion. Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” explores some of the potential negative effects of the internet on our cognitive abilities. However, it is important to consider other perspectives before accepting his claims outright.