Is Google Making Us Stupid? Article Analysis Essay

  • Category: Articles,
  • Words: 1118 Pages: 5
  • Published: 16 September 2021
  • Copied: 103

Humans are constantly evolving. Whether it’s a new experience, opinion, or interaction, the human brain never stops developing. Author of “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Nicholas Carr suggests that the age of the Internet has changed the way individuals think by decreasing attention span, altering thought patterns, and degrading critical thinking. Yet, as the Internet continues to become increasingly prevalent in an individual’s daily life, the way they think has merely adapted to the way the world around them has changed. The human brain is continuously malleable, and while to some extent the Internet has rewired the brain by reducing the capacity for concentration and contemplation, it has also allowed individuals to understand different perspectives, learn in new ways, and adapt to a new technological environment.

Due to the advancement of Internet platforms, individuals can access distinct perspectives, allowing them to analyze and think critically. There has never before been a way for people to read, listen, and watch different opinions about the same story with just a few taps on their devices. This new advancement has allowed individuals to read an everyday stranger’s review on Google, or even view a conversation between two ordinary people about a political policy. These virtual interactions fuel the human brain to work more critically and understand both sides of a story. Before such technology was readily available, people would sit down and think deeply about one lengthy article that they stumbled upon in a newspaper. By analyzing a single article, Carr implies that individuals will not only think more critically but also develop original thoughts and ideas. And while his argument has some truth to it, it remains evident that the evolution of the Internet has developed into a tool for ordinary people to access information and shape their own opinions. Moreover, for decades before the rise of the Internet, individuals would construct their beliefs primarily based on the beliefs of those who surrounded them every day. For this reason, many people did not have original perspectives on politics, food, or even movies. Admittedly, the growth of the Internet has contributed to countless fake news articles and headlines, stunting the accuracy of newfound perspectives through Google and social media platforms. However, the great lengths to which the Internet has advanced the thought process of the human brain outweigh the setbacks that come with its progress. The shifting pattern from stagnant perspectives to original opinions correlating with the rise of the Internet has illustrated the profound effect this global computer network has had on the way humans think.

The era of new technological innovations has brought to the surface a great number of new ways to learn and comprehend information. For decades, books have been the sole source of knowledge for others to both teach and learn through. However, Carr argues that “book habits”— the ability to concentrate on long pieces of text and being able to make mental connections— have been degrading with the increased use of the internet. Yet, new technology has allowed the human brain to learn more effectively. When reading or learning through the internet, there are often comments or opinions about a certain text. Or better yet, several articles are responding to each other and offering differing perspectives. Through the process of researching and analyzing a topic, an individual ordinarily glances through several websites before finally deciding that they understand the topic. And although Carr criticizes the recent human behavior to skim through a piece of text and not fully analyze an article as a negative consequence of the internet, the effect is contrary to what Carr portrays it to be. By jumping from article to article, an individual is emulating the behavior of a conversation, through their interactions with various authors and critics of the text. The human brain’s most effective way to learn is through communication, and although these “conversations” are strictly virtual, they imitate that of a group conversation. Therefore, the Internet is facilitating a more effective means of learning as it is evident that individuals comprehend information to a greater degree when in a group setting. A 2014 study led by Eva Hammar Chiriac, a member of Linkoping University’s Division of Psychology, sought out to find how group work contributes to a student’s learning. After surveying students from the university, Chiriac found that 97% of students responded that working in a group facilitated learning, academic knowledge, and collaborative abilities in some way. Chiriac states that the students “learned more or different things when working in groups than they would have if working alone”. Even though a virtual “conversation” between online authors is nothing compared to a group study session, the thought process that occurs during both seemingly distinct interactions is closely related. Therefore, the changes due to advanced technology have benefited how individuals learn, advancing the idea that the decrease in concentration and contemplation is not as detrimental as others make it seem.

Yet, the human brain has not only accommodated a new technological climate by adapting to a new way of learning but also completely changed the way individuals’ memories function. Prior to the reign of the Internet, people had to remember phone numbers, memorize directions, and remember birthdays, which forced them to have a deepened memory. However, with the advancement of the Internet, it has been found that the global computer network which runs many individuals’ lives has become part of a transactive memory source, a method by which an individual’s brain compartmentalizes information. In essence, the idea behind a transactive memory source is that a person doesn’t have to remember a phone number, a birthday, or fact, but instead they just need to remember who knows that information. As the Internet overcomes more and more of individuals’ lives, it has been proven that the Web has evolved into the most frequent transactive memory source for the human brain. Lindsley professor of psychology, Daniel Wegner, conducted a series of experiments using different forms of memory recall to analyze reliance on computers. In one of his experiments, participants typed statements into a computer and were told the statements would be saved in specific folders. After some time, they were asked to remember the statements and then were asked to name the folders where the statements were located. Wegner’s study showed that the participants proved to be able to recall the folder locations better than the actual statements. Therefore, many individuals’ computer dependence is not necessarily a bad thing for their memory since their brain is still using memory recall, just for a different range of items. Although Carr asserts that the Internet and individuals’ dependence on it has negatively impacted how they think, research shows that the shift in the process of memorization is a mere adaptation of a changing technological environment.

Despite scientific belief, the human brain is constantly developing, evolving, and progressing. The recent advancements of the Internet have brought controversy to the light of how new technology affects the human brain. While Nicholas Carr suggests that the Internet has deteriorated the ability to concentrate and negatively altered how individuals think, he only sees one side of the change people are experiencing. In truth, the Internet has enabled individuals to form original ideas through many other perspectives, comprehend information in new ways, and accommodate their way of thinking to a new era of technology.

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