Critique of Nicolas Carr’s Argument in is Google Making Us Stupid

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864 words

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American writer, Nicholas Carr’s article, Is Goggle Making Us Stupid, conceives the idea that the net is changing the way our brains receive information. He tries to convince the reader by provoking fear through anecdotes and research that the technology has taken a toll on our brains. Carr, fails at convincing me that google is making us stupid because of his lack of organization and his choice of sources.

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Carr, starts the article with his personal experience with the net. He explains how the net has started “has been tinkering with [his] brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory” he continues to say how he used to be able to read lengthy books and article while getting lost through the pages. But that is not the case anymore now he can hardly sit through three pages before he starts to drift of, get fidgety, or starts to look for something else. On the other, he explains how the internet was godsent to him as a writer because things that took days to research are now at his disposal with a few clicks. He also adds that even when he is not working, he uses the net to look through emails, watch videos, listen to podcast, and many other things. To me this seems very confusing first, he implies that the net has token a negative affect on his brain yet, he the net is a “godsend” to him. He seems to put the use of internet down, while making the reader fear that the same will happen to them, yet in the next paragraph he glorifies it for making his life easier. We never get a clear understanding on his position.

Next, Carr continues, some experiences from his friend and acquaintances and how they have similar problems. For example, Scott Karp, a blogger who writes about online media, explain how he stopped reading books all together even though he was a lit major and speculates that he stopped reading because he thinks different. Similarly, Bruce Friedman, blogger who writes about the use of computers in the medicine, is not able to read lengthy articles or books. If, the reader does not know who these people are they lack credibility because anyone can start a blog and call themselves a blogger. These references have the same authority as any stranger on the street. Therefore, making these anecdotes useless in his argument. If Carr, is trying to warn oncoming generations he should use people with authority, that appeal to a younger audience in order for them to be able to relate to the experiences.

Afterwards, he acknowledges that anecdotes are not enough to convince the reader and so he introduces research. He talks about a study by students at University College London, where they prove that people are only skimming articles and that people are no longer reading the same way they used to read. But is this a bad thing, as time goes by, we evolve and leave behind habits that don’t necessarily help us. Carr never really explains whether this new form of reading is either good or bad, missing the chance make a compelling argument. Then he explains Maryanne Wolf’s theory, that the connections made with readings online will be different than the ones done by books and other different printed work. And yet again doesn’t let the reader know whether making different connection is necessarily a bad thing.

Carr then adds how the net has made other part of media change like magazine and news papers like shortening article, providing summaries and basically making it easy for the more efficient reader. He adds that The New York Times dedicated the second and third page to article abstracts in order to cater to the more efficient readers. And again, Carr, fails to state weather this necessarily bad, is it bad that people don’t feel the need a three-page article that can be summarized into paragraph. He mentions very compelling evidence but fails to correlate back to his standpoint in this argument.

Finally, Carr talks the different theories that people from the past had and how their fear came true which appeals to the readers fear factor. For example, he explains the Socrates feared that if people started to write things down then people would rely on writing to remember things which is true but Carr explains how he also did not see that writing also inspired new ideas that expanded human’s wisdom. He also states how people thought that the printing press would weaken men’s minds, yet the printer also made wisdom come easy to humans. Again, Carr makes it seem like these developments are a good thing, that the developments that the internet might bring are a good thing.

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In conclusion Nicholas Carr’s argument, that the net is changing the way we think in a negative way, isn’t very compelling. He gives good evidence, on how the internet is changing our surroundings but never really says weather it is a good thing or bad thing. He fail to convince the reader that the internet could have a negative aspect in our lives. He actually makes us think that the internet could actually be making our lives easier.

Works Cited

  1. Carr, N. (2008). Is Google making us stupid? The Atlantic, 301(1), 56-63.
  2. Delgado, R. (2013). Neuroplasticity and the aging brain. Aging health, 9(3), 293-296.
  3. Greenfield, S. (2010). Mind change: How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains. Random House.
  4. Howard-Jones, P. A. (2014). Neuroscience and education: Myths and messages. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(12), 817-824.
  5. Hsin, C. T., Li, M. C., & Tsai, Y. C. (2014). The influence of media multitasking on the learning efficiency of university students. Computers & Education, 70, 269-278.
  6. Kirschner, P. A., & De Bruyckere, P. (2017). The myths of the digital native and the multitasker. Teaching and Teacher Education, 67, 135-142.
  7. Small, G. W., Moody, T. D., Siddarth, P., & Bookheimer, S. Y. (2009). Your brain on Google: Patterns of cerebral activation during Internet searching. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 17(2), 116-126.
  8. Sparrow, B., Liu, J., & Wegner, D. M. (2011). Google effects on memory: Cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips. Science, 333(6043), 776-778.
  9. Wolf, M. (2010). Proust and the squid: The story and science of the reading brain. HarperCollins.
  10. Ybarra, O., Burnstein, E., Winkielman, P., Keller, M. C., Manis, M., Chan, E., & Rodriguez, J. (2008). Mental exercising through simple socializing: Social interaction promotes general cognitive functioning. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(2), 248-259.
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Critique Of Nicolas Carr’s Argument In Is Google Making Us Stupid. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from
“Critique Of Nicolas Carr’s Argument In Is Google Making Us Stupid.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021,
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