Research Nugget


Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, 01 Jul. 2008. Web. 30 Jun. 2014.

This article is from a past University or Focused Inquiry class which actually is very relevant to what I am researching for my inquiry project.

UNIV 200 - Yes

Anyway, the article is called “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and it discusses the effect of the internet and online browsing being the media of choice for receiving information. The author, Nicholas Carr, is an author of more than one book and several articles on technology as well as other topics. He openly discusses the fact that he, as well as other noted peers of his, has been rendered incapable of engaging in a long, dense book, or even a lengthy article.

Carr argues that the reason for his loss in focus is due to the digital takeover which has seen almost all past media (Television, articles, discussions, and sometimes even books) being combined and digitized into the all-encompassing medium of the Internet. He continues to explain that all mediums have an affect on the way we process information. In the culture of internet browsing, texting, tweets, and more, this means no longer engaging in a text but simply glimpsing and skimming in order to get the big picture and that moving on. This means having several tabs open, jumping from one to another rather than having one big book in your lap. This should sound especially familiar after our own “As We May Think” concept experience. Carr says that this change in the way we process information goes much deeper than just changing our reading habits, it changes the way we think.

” The process of adapting to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the changing metaphors we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. When the mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating “like clockwork.” Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them as operating “like computers.” But the changes, neuroscience tells us, go much deeper than metaphor. Thanks to our brain’s plasticity, the adaptation occurs also at a biological level. 

I almost didn’t use this quote because it is so perfect for my purposes and I wanted to save it for my final…oh well, reinforcement never hurts I suppose. Putting the negative air in which the author discusses this topic aside, I have a source discussing ways in which the digital medium of the web not only influences the way we think but in fact alters the chemical makeup of the brain, changing it on a BIOLOGICAL level. The title of the book I am using for my research is subtitled When Humans Transcend Biology. My inquiry is both into the Technological Singularity, which is the topic of that book, but also into the ways in which digital technologies are already integrated into our lives and how their integration is already changing our essential existence. The article speaks of intellectual technologies, which are technologies that extend our mental capabilities rather than our physical ones. These are the technologies which I am interested in and this article provides an example of just how deep-seeded their integration can be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.