Blog: 20: “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr


“What the Internet is doing to our brains”

Nicholas Carr explains that over time he has found that he can no longer keep his focus when reading a long book or article. He did a self-study on his online habits and found that because of the Internet he is having a harder time focusing on large amounts of text. He went out and asked a few of his friend, many of which are bloggers, and found that they were suffering from the same thing.

Studies had found that when online all media are mashed together. So when your reading a book online there are other mediums, like flashing ads, up-date “bings” from your email, pop-ups, etc., that distract you from the text. Unlike a physical book that you can read that is only filled with the author’s text from cover to cover.

Others have found that the way we think is changing because we don’t have to solve a problem or look up an answer by reading thought manuals, instructions, books or articles. We can go online, ‘Google’ our question and within seconds our answer appears; our brain is no longer having to work to find/learn the answers.

In the past most thought that our brains were fully developed by the time we were adults, where all the connections were made and co not be broken or changed. More recent studies have found that “the brain has the ability to reprogram itself on the fly, altering the way it functions,” according to James Olds (professor of neuroscience  who directs the Karsno Institute for Advanced Study at Georgia Mason University), (Carr, 60).

Google’s initial goals as a company is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful…to develop the perfect search engine;” this search engine that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want,” (Carr, 62). I think that Google has succeeded and is the best search engine on the web today.

In the Internet world, Google’s World, “we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation…The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive,” (Carr, 63). The faster we surf across the Web – the more links we click and pages we view – the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link – the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction,” (Carr, 63).

Lastly, Carr says, “we lose those quite space, or fill them up with ‘content,’ we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture,” (63).

 

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I want to take a  little portion of my last (class assignment) blog to say THANK YOU to Dr. Johnson for making class fun and a little different. Assigning us readings that we had to blog about through out the semester and for showing me a new way to communicate via Twitter. It was something I never thought I would try but after seeing all the positives to it I’m HOOKED! Looking forward to tweeting with you! Have a good holiday season!

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@s_hardey

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