Response to Nicholas Carr's "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"

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The internet is a technology which has had a significant impact on the way many people conduct their lives. Information once contained in massive volumes at libraries or in private collections is now available by typing words into a search engine and clicking “search.” One must no longer pick up a phone to call a friend, relative or colleague; e-mail, instant messaging, Skype and the like, have enabled people to communicate in non-traditional ways and across boundaries previously inaccessible. Nicholas Carr addresses the wonder that is the internet in his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The general direction of the article is a discussion of how intelligent thought patterns seem to be changing; attention spans and critical thinking once required for thoughtful analysis appear to be moving towards a status of extinct. One particular passage of interest states: The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Carr is astute in his observation that the internet is filled with certain distractions which are not present when reading a book. Nevertheless, his implicit assertion that knowledge derived from traditional print media is somehow more substantive to that from the internet deserves attention. The internet enables a greater number of people access to knowledge based information and rather than creating a void of real knowledge, encourages critical thought and intellectual development outside of traditional boundaries.

The internet has created a forum in which people excluded from traditional methods of gathering information are granted access. While...
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