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Is Google Making Us Stupid: Why Carr’s Argument is not Effective

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“Is Google making our society stupid or is it helping us instead?”. In “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” Nicholas Carr’s main idea that he is attempting to make throughout it is that the internet is the main source of information and ideas that we as humans use, he goes on and talks about how it affects our ability as people to focus on one single thing or idea, and he says that humans have a hard time reading while staying focused because of the internet and it’s distractions that it has. He then continues to go on and he attempts to explain how the way information is presented on the Internet and how it has changed our way of acting as a society and thinking as a whole. He uses a lot of different methods and ways of thinking to do this, he uses anecdotes, and uses his observations to try to persuade the audience that the internet has been bad for our thinking, and our learning processes. Overall, I believe that his argument is not effective because of his choice of sources, and also his tone of voice throughout his article. As you read through the article, Carr talks about how the internet has helped but at the same time he also explains the downside of the internet.

Carr starts his article off with a quote from 2001: A Space Odyssey. He talks about the quote and explains the quote by talking about “how humans are the ones rewiring the computer”. Then he compares and talks about how computers have rewired his very own brain. Before reading this article, I didn’t know who he was, so I went onto Google ironically and looked into who he was and what he was known for. “Nicholas Carr is an acclaimed writer on technology, economics, and culture whose books have been translated into over twenty-five languages“. “He is the Richmond Visiting Professor at Williams College. Carr is also a well-known author, his most recent book” The Shallows”.

Throughout his article, it feels like he relies a lot on his fame to convince the readers of his point of view and opinions because he uses a lot of his own opinions and views quite frequently to help prove his point that he made.To be completely honest, I can see why he would do this because he is a well-qualified expert in this subject, but if I didn’t know who he was or didn’t look into who he was before reading this article, then a decent amount of his article would not be effective. After he says his opinions and ideas, he goes on to talk about his friend’s experiences with his points of view. After he talks to his friends about their experience with reading books, he found that his friends struggle with reading a whole book. This way of thinking probably wouldn’t work with just anybody because anybody can ask their friends this question, but this way of thinking works for him because he has authority, and I would assume his friends are smart if he’s friends with them. If it wasn’t for Carr his argument probably wouldn’t be backed up very well. Overall, he used his own ideas and opinions to prove his point.

As I continued to read through Carr’s article I found another thing he does in his article is that he uses observations and he has noticed that in magazines and different articles publishers and writers have added more small pieces and summaries of different parts of magazines to help the reader understand what the whole story was about and as a result he thinks this is because of the internet and it’s distractions. As I read more of Carr’s article, I noticed that his claim included many observations which included reading different articles online and in books and these are the reasons why these publishers and writers have made summaries of articles because he thinks they are conforming to the way our society reads on the internet.

When I kept continuing to read his article, I noticed that he quotes a developmental psychologist named, Maryanne Wolf. She goes on to explain that “reading isn’t an instinctive skill, so our brains will take in information in a way that we tell it to do”. This time, Carr talks about how the internet and he goes on to say that the internet is changing our way of reading and taking in information. What he does fail to do is state if it’s a good thing or a bad thing overall. Another source he uses is when he quotes Friedrich Nietzsche, “saying that in 1882 he bought a typewriter and he said after he bought it, it somehow changed the way he wrote”. Even though it comes from a person who has credibility, it is, in fact, an anecdote from 100 plus which is a long time ago, and it is also Nietzsche’s opinions and ideas. It’s still a good source Carr uses, but it’s not on the same level as the other examples he used above.

After reading his whole article, I think that his argument that the internet has changed the way our society thinks and has made it hard for us to think deeply when we read books and large pieces of writing because of the internet. Overall, I think a lot of his techniques and tools that he uses when writing his article was aimed towards people that will most likely believe in his ideas and viewpoints which makes sense. I also noticed that he uses his own fame and authority a good amount to be able to prove his points. Some of his examples and ideas were older examples and it was a bit hard as a young person to fully connect with his argument, but if I was older I would be able to relate to his ideas because his examples where older. Overall, I think Nicholas Carr’s article was a bit disorganized and challenging to follow, and his arguments that he used in his article could have been a bit better and could have been presented in a better way.

Works Cited

  • Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic July-Aug. 2008: 56-63
  • Nicholas Carr. “A writer of books, essays, and ephemera”, Nicholas Carr,
  • Psychology of Technology Institute,   

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