In Response to Nicholas Carr

The article by Nicholas Carr, titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” questions the impact that the internet and the cultural shift it has brought along with it by pointing out the changes he and many others have found themselves experiencing due to the internet. I have yet to even finish reading the article, and frankly, I don’t really want to based upon his arguments, not because of a short attention span brought on due to internet culture. The gist of the beginning of his argument is that the internet has forced people to have short attention spans and are thus unable to read books and other long pieces for extended periods of time.

While I can understand his argument that skimming pieces has become a norm in reading now because I myself do skim many things, I cannot say that I am unable to sit down and read for an extended period of time. I don’t believe that the shift in the reading culture comes from shortened attention spans really, but rather a new need to multitask to keep up with all that is happening. The internet has created a new way to quickly disseminate information, which makes someone’s need to multitask necessary to try and keep up with all the information getting thrown at them. If something is not what you need or are looking for, you are likely to abandon it and try to find other information, which Carr mentions as something he and others find themselves doing more often now due to the internet. I often find articles and books that I become infatuated with and don’t want to put down; it really depends on how invested you become in reading that dictates whether you will be able or not to dedicate time to reading it.

Carr also mentions that Google is making information a commodity, “a utilitarian resource that can be mined and processed with industrial efficiency” and treats the idea as a negative one. When comparing it to the idea of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the idea of an all-knowing AI does seem frightening. In the reality of the world we live in today, however, it is not only the AI that are intelligent, but the people who are learning from the information given and the people who are teaching and creating the AIs.

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