Sunday Story #1

Nicholas Carr: Views Concerning The Internet

In 2008, Nicholas Carr had an article titled “Is Google Making Us Stoopid” published in Atlantic Monthly. The article questioned whether the internet was causing changes to our brains and Carr further discussed his ideas concerning how the internet affects our brains in his books, “The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains” and “The Glass Cage:Automation and Us”.

Carr believes that people’s thoughts and brains are restructured through use of the Internet. He sides with the idea that the internet corrupts our minds. It causes people to be less attentive and less capable of focusing on important work. The internet has been used for several years now and Carr argued that people became so accustomed to it that they are often more distracted and incapable of having deep thoughts while reading. While we are becoming more proficient at skimming through things quickly, our concentration and reflection skills are gradually decreasing. Nicholas Carr also explains hazards of smart technology in “The Glass Cage:Automation and Us”. He fears that we will lose intelligence, skills, and value in our work if we allow technology (computers, self driving cars etc.) to perform difficult jobs that we used to think only humans could do.

In this brief interview, Carr explains his ideals which he presented in The Shallows. He explains how he noticed his concentration seemed to be deteriorating back in 2007, when the internet had been around for about 10 years.

“I noticed that I was losing my ability to concentrate… when I’d sit down to … read a book, something that used to come completely naturally to me.. I’d get a couple of pages in and my mind wanted to behave the way it behaves when I’m online…”

Carr’s experience here is one that I can personally relate to. I’ve been using the internet for most of my life, and I’ve noticed that in recent years, I’ve been a lot more dependent on the internet seeing as how I use it for entertainment, online homework, learning, etc. When I try to focus on certain things, like reading, I tend to get distracted very often and to go to my phone to use social media or find something else to distract me. Though I generally get important work done, it often happens after hours of unfocused work. Also, seeing as how I’ve noticed other people in my life be distracted by the internet and being incapable of concentrating one one thing at a time, I can easily agree with the points made by Nicholas Carr.

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