Summary of “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr
As the internet offers us the benefits of quick and easy knowledge, it is affecting the brain’s capacity to read longer articles and books. Carr starts Is Google Making Us Stupid with the closing scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when Dave taking apart the memory circuits that control HAL, the artificial brain of the ship. Carr feels the time he spends online is rewiring his brain. He is no longer able to concentrate long enough to read more than a few paragraphs. Even though the internet is useful, it seems to be changing the way our brain takes in information. He feels as though this brain wants to take information in the same way the internet disperses it: in rapid streams. Carr compares himself to a guy on a jet ski instead of a deep-sea diver. He is no longer able to focus and contemplate.
Carr shares the story of two bloggers that are also having problems reading and focusing and feel the internet is responsible. Carr admits that while a recent study at University College London suggests there may be some evidence that the internet is negatively effecting the brain, no long-term studies have been done. With the amount of texting on cell phones and text on the Internet we may be reading more now than when television was the main means of media. Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist, believes that the ability for deep reading that was nurtured by the printing press is being weakened by the way the web puts emphasis on ease and speed of information. Online reading has created “mere decoders of information”, leaving a detachment in the interpretation of text.
While language is instinctive, reading must be learned; studies show that our mental circuitry is mapped differently dependent on the language we are reading. This suggests these circuits will be mapped differently when we learn via media and technology as opposed to reading printed material. Similarly Friedrich...
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