30 October 2014
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Today, the Internet has become a big part of our lives. We rely deeply on it to obtain information, but it makes it harder for us to retain information. In “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Nicholas Carr uses allusion, metaphor, and an appeal to logos in order to explain that the Internet is making society less smart and more reliant on technology. Carr uses various allusions in order to give the reader a better understanding of technology today. He alluded to the movie called 2001: A Space Odyssey by referring to a supercomputer named HAL saying that its “mind is going” (225). Carr then began to say that he could also feel his mind going. He says that that he is “not thinking the way [he] used to think” because he can no longer easily read long articles or books (225). He explains that the reason for this change is the Internet. Information that used to take him “days” to obtain is now readily available to him (226). Society has become so reliant on technology to obtain their information, they no longer need to memorize or learn things because the information is a “few Google searches” away (226). Carr then tries to explain this opinion by adding an allusion to Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. Wolf explains that the reason humans no longer wish to take the time to read because we teach our minds to “translate symbolic characters we see into the language we understand” (228). She talks about how reading is not instinctive and more of a learned behavior. We want to do the easiest and least time-consuming thing possible when obtaining information. This causes us to simply skim pieces in order to just get the exact information we need instead of reading the whole passage. The more technology, the lazier society gets. Carr also alludes towards the book Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation by Joseph Weizenbaum. In the book, Weizenbaum believes that the reason for this laziness is the invention of the mechanical clock in the 14th century. He explains how “we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock” (229). When people started basing their actions on what time is was, people became more hurried and focused on getting things done quickly instead of thoroughly. When new technologies become available, society will change itself to adapt. Carr explains that all technologies are being taken over by the Internet. The Internet is now becoming a “map,” “calculator,” and “telephone” (230). It is making our lives easier, but at this same time, it is harder because it takes away from our intelligence. Along with allusion, Carr uses different metaphors in order to explain how technology affects us. He says that the Internet is like a “godsend” to him (226). As a writer, he explains that whenever he needs to find a fact or a quote, all he has to do is type it into a search engine and he can get it back instantly. It has made his writing easier, but at the same time, he does not have the benefit of remembering these facts and actually knowing what they mean. He uses another metaphor to say that he was “once a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now [he] zips along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski” (226). He uses this metaphor to give the reader an idea of what the Internet actually does. Instead of getting deep into information, they only get a small idea. Another metaphor that Carr uses is about the human brain being an “outdated computer than needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive” (233). He is trying to say that the brain is just like another form of technology that the Internet is taking over. Technology now has the ability to think for us so there is no reason for people to take the time to read long pieces when there is easier ways of obtaining information. The Internet keeps growing and it will continue until there is another form of technology that...
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