Discussing an article by Nicholas Carr— Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Headlines, hyperlinks, personal blogging and blogging as a journalist
Nicholas Carr proposes that the Internet may not be as good for the human mind as it seems. First, he describes personal struggles concentrating on text for extended periods of time. He goes on to argue that the Internet, and more specifically search engines, have polluted his mind and many others who have reported the same experience. Carr proceeds to argue that we are adapting to information technology.
Our brain used to work like clockwork and now it is likened to that of a computer. And as the computer synthesizes our daily tools—calculator, checkbook, notepad, clock, music, etc are we more vulnerable to distractions? In my opinion NO! But even Socrates argued against writing during his time because he considered it a distraction.
Is the struggle to sustain deep concentration the first step in the process of human degeneration and machine take over?
For many different reasons, I disagree with Carr.
Initially when producing his premise and ultimate thesis his “sample size” and “test subjects” are fully developed adults. These presumed adults all confirmed his difficulty in extended concentration. My educated guess is that most of these men are well into middle age. Google says . . . Carr was born in 1959. In definitive research it has been well established that our brain starts to deteriorate once we reach our 20s. For middle age men, this time period has come and gone. They remember the days of extended concentration when they were younger and attribute their ability to concentrate to dense books. I attribute their ability to concentrate to youth.
Next, I consider the progressive paradox that we experience in our culture. There are so many options and we all want to choose the best one. When I go buy a pair of blue jeans there 15 different ways to get the jeans cut. Consequently, after the purchase I will worry that I didn’t chose the very best pair. As our society has developed, more and more options have become available. However, this is not always a good thing.
Carr dives into the process by which people read on the Internet today—browsing one source, then browsing another source, and then another. He bemoans the fact that the internet prompts us to never fully concentrate and take in a full source. I agree that this true, but in turn I believe that this progressive paradox as seen on internet engenders the pursuit of the more accurate, the more well done, and the more fully developed piece of work. We have so many resources at our disposal which we must take advantage of. Shouldn’t we? Is the net just indicative of our culture as a whole in which there is a progressive paradox?
Carr contends that the bombardment of information we experience through technology is leading to our demise. I beg to differ. Just as the printing press proliferated literature in 1450, the Web proliferates knowledge and opportunity for all who have access. As I am bombarded through technological devices I continually intake information—I read an email from my parents, 20 tips for a great new year, and campsites in trees —all in the span of 15 minutes while I wait on class to start. That experience is unique to this age—the age Ulmer refers to as electracy.
Discussing an article by Ulmer— Electracy
Ulmer discusses the term electracy with expansive breadth. This terms encompasses all the skills and thought process to be able to take advantage of the new age of digital communication. Ulmer writes that literacy is to print as electracy is to digital media. Ulmer goes as far back to philosophers to develop his argument. I question a word described with such breadth and ambiguous terms. This word is numerous parts of speech? However, I appreciate the optimism that Ulmer brings to the table in regards to digital media. My understanding of Ulmer’s argument is that we now have reached a time of a third dimension—electracy or what can be thought of as digital media.