Summary of “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
Is Google making us stupid? This is a good question. It is also the title of Nicholas Carrs’ article published in The Atlantic magazine. In this article, Carr uses examples and the word of others to explain to readers that Google, and the Internet, is not only weakening our cognitive skills but also changing the way our brain functions altogether. He makes good use of reliable sources to add credibility to these acquisitions and even includes excerpts of the popular Hollywood film, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. By the end of this article, Carr ties all this information together to introduce his thesis, which is that our primary source of information, the Internet, is ultimately reshaping our brains process to work as that of an efficient information machine. Human character would be absent.
The introduction to Carrs’ article is the closing scene from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, where main character Dave shuts down Hal, an artificial brain also running the ship. As Dave nears completion, Hal pleads by accusing someone of tampering with the way Hal thinks. Carr explains he feels the same way as Hal. He writes, “My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing.” The cause of this is that he replaced much of his time reading longer and deeper reading with searching or surfing online, and maybe adding to it. The problem, he explains, is that his mind now expects to absorb information as the Internet distributes it. This can be best described in his words: “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” He is no longer concentrating or contemplating as he is skimming over.
Carrs’ says he mentioned his troubles to friends who tell him they also have experienced the same problem. Scott Karp, a blogger of online media, confesses that he no longer reads books at all. His explanation is that it’s not the way he reads that changed, but...