The Place of Technology
Opinions on the roles technologies have assumed in our lives vary greatly between individuals, but all most often question the potential effects it has on our brains and their functions. Some, like the author Nicholas Carr, see the change as a loss rather than a gain, and others, such as the Glass explorer Gary Shteyngart, are welcoming the change with open arms. Carr elaborates on his technological concerns in great detail in his 2008 article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” when he reveals personal realizations, references to research, scientific standpoints, as well as his own carefully constructed and researched theories. He gives a voice to concerns, such as the qualitative differences in how we think, read, and learn that we otherwise remain subconsciously unaware of. Shteyngart, however, has adopted nearly an entirely different viewpoint on the developing role of technology in our lives. In his 2012 article “O.K Glass”, he makes it evident that he has become fascinated by the futurism related directly to technology, and continues to willingly incorporate it into his life. Both of these writers meet at the intersection of a largely controversial argument between literacy and tech—not only where we’re heading, but where we already are. Likewise, as the advancement of technology continues to occur, both writers suggest that whether it becomes an advantage or a disadvantage is purely dependent upon the way in which it is applied.
In Nicholas Carr’s piece “Is Google Making Us Stupid”, he presents an argument several of us may not have considered prior to reading the article. He begins by explaining how his own mind has become more irregular since his use of technology: “I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin Tillson 2 looking for something else to do” (Carr, 1), he says. The amount of information we have access to via technology is limitless, and our consumption of it, even greater. Carr then attempts to explain why this is happening in the first place by introducing a concept called “intellectual technologies” (Carr, 4), meaning that we essentially personify the technology we possess. He uses the mechanical clock as an example of this by saying “…[it] helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences….in deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep, to rise, we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock” (Carr, 4). Carr goes on to give a very well researched account of how text on the internet is structured to make the browsing experience fast, efficient, and enhanced for profit. He then wraps up the argument by describing the new idea of considering the mind as more machine-like than human, and what we are losing in the shift. He reassures the audience that it is acceptable to be “skeptical of [his] skepticism” (Carr, 7), but does leave the piece on a troubling note by revisiting the 2001: A Space Odyssey he uses to open the article. He warns of the dangers we face in adapting to a world almost entirely mediated by technology, and suggests that internet immersion has caused us to become more machine-like than the machines themselves.
In Gary Shteyngart’s article “O.K Glass”, he tells about his experience as one of the initial 100 New Yorkers chosen to experiment with a newborn technology called Google Glass. He was interested in experiencing Google Glass because his new novel Super Sad True Love Story deals with individuals operating an exceptionally similar technology, and he wanted to familiarize himself with it. Throughout his article he not only shares facts of his encounter with Google Glass, but also continues to reassure the audience that technology can be used to promote improvement of knowledge and success. As he states in the midst...
Cited: Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” TheAtlantic.com. The Atlantic Monthly Group. 1 Jul. 2008. Web. 14 Sept. 2013.
Carr, Nicholas. “The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains.” Wired.com. Condé Nast. 24 May, 2010. Web. 14 Sept. 2013.
Professor Giles. In-Class Discussion. “Things to Think About.” University of New England: ENG Composition 110. 10 Sept. 2013. Discussion.
Shteyngart, Gary. “O.K Glass.” Newyorker.com. Condé Nast. 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Sept. 2013.
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