Growing up in a world without all the technology we have available to us today was very different. Nicholas Carr points out in his essay “is google making us stoopid?” He is referring to how many of us are so tuned into the world of media and how for him the focus is not always there. Carr states that he is not thinking the way he used to think. He has been an online user for more than ten years and says that it has helped him incredibly as a writer and how research was much more time consuming combing through stacks of periodical rooms of libraries and now the same process is done in a matter of minutes online by clicking and searching on Google and some other quick search hyperlinks. (510) He state that most of the information that is going into is brain is coming from some sort of internet source. He goes on to say that all this information at our fingertips is shaping the process of our concentration and how we contemplate it. He describes the way he used to read as being a scuba diver in the sea of words and but now reading is like zipping along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski. This issue he states is not unique to him that other have conveyed the same issue and reasoning is that the internet is causing people to get information in pieces. So many “blinking ads and other gewgaws” as he puts it, are affecting the way our brain process and learns. He is saying that the internet is reprograming us. (514)
Steven Pinker the author of “mind over mass media” seems to have a dissimilar view. As a psychology professor at Harvard University, Pinker is recognized for his research on language and cognition. This essay appeared in The New York Time June 2010. In it he says how people have always been alerted or panic stricken to new forms of media. Change in the mode and the way people receive or obtain information have been criticized in the past. Pinker goes on to say how in the 1950’s comic books where accused of kids into juvenile delinquents. ( 525) What Pinker is pointing out is that the panics are not well founded that people are reacting to the change and are using these new introduction to society as a copout to unfamiliarity and lack of exposure. As for today’s media frenzy and the claim that some people are making as Carr did in “is google making us stoopid”, Pinker gives the reality check of the work of scientist and how they are making benchmark discoveries yet their emails are always at their fingertips and they can never give a lecture without a PowerPoint. The point being, if technology where so detrimental to our brains, how could these highly qualified scientist is making such intelligent discoveries. What Pinker is saying is that the effect of consuming electronic media are more likely to be less effective than people are making it out to be for the same reasons as in the 1950’s with comic books unfamiliarity and change. In addition he states how the constant arrival of information and messages can be a distraction especially to those with attention deficit disorder it is nothing new. The media is not to encourage intellectual depth that is what Universities are for Pinker conveys. People will always be distracted in one way or another. If distractions are being guided by the internet and information technology those distraction are far from making us stupid. (526)
Much like Pinker, Christine Rosen the author of “in the beginning was the word” views the cultural shift of the printed word to techno word as irrelevant to a reduction in literacy. Rosen is a senior editor of The New Atlantis and resident fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Rosen writes on history of genetics, bioethics ant eh fertility industry and the social impact of technology. She points in this essay in Wilson Quarterly in 2009 that Reader’s Digest filed for bankruptcy protection. The magazine was created in 1922 as an experiment in abridgment that offered...
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