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A Summary of Nicholas Carr's Article

Essay by   •  April 6, 2011  •  Article Review  •  669 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,807 Views

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Nicholas Carr's article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" analyzes how the way we use the internet is changing the way our brains absorb information, and how the time we are able to focus on one single piece of writing is decreasing. To Carr it feels like the structure of his brain is slowly being reprogrammed, deleting his ability to dig deep into scripts, and enhancing his will to surf from link to link quickly. He claims that he only flies over the content of a link before moving on again. Carr is not the only one who feels this way. In the article the existence of this phenomenon is affirmed by several anecdotes, as well as by a five-year research program carried out by scholars of a reputable university.

Because reading and writing is not routed in our genes as much as speech is, the way we write depends heavily on which tools we have to do so. For example, an author will write in a totally different style if he has to write with pen and paper, than if he can write blindly using a typewriter. This can enhance the flow of thoughts and precision.

Carr also gives an insight of how intellectual technologies, such as the invention of the mechanical clock (14th century), have had an impact on our way of living and thinking in recent history. All of a sudden the structure of our daily activities seemed to have to fit into a mathematical system, causing us to lose our natural senses and trading them for systematic plans. The Author uses examples to take this point so far, that we are using our brain as if it were a clock or a computer. And the internet has developed so far that it can function as our clock, TV, radio, text processor, calculator, and more. Even the news on TV and on paper are adapting to the internets quick, over viewable formats, which allow fast and easy access to desired information. Frederick Winslow Taylor, who published The Principle of Scientific Management in 1911, used the clock to develop algorithms. He identified one best method of tackling certain activities in working environments of manual labor. Taylor designed exact motion sequences, based on his motion studies, where he broke every task into single motions, optimized each motion, and designed an optimal sequence.

Further, the author reports that Google adapts this principle of algorithms and systematic acquisition of scientific measurements, but in an intellectual sense, rather than manual. Google claims that our intellectual productivity rises, the faster our access to information is. They go so far to say that we would be better off as a whole, if we had instant access to all existing information in our brain. This is why they are working on the development of artificial intelligence. Knowing this, it's no wonder that internet companies like these want to prevent us from thorough thinking and slow reading, preferably scattering our minds with information overload.

To contrast this view, Carr gives a demonstration of

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