The article that I selected for this essay is titled ‘Is Google making us stupid?’ and is published by the Atlantic (Carr). It is quite an extensive article that encompasses significant information that is hard to grasp for the average – non-technical – reader; however, the article has been written in a language that is possible to comprehend in general. The main message that the author is trying to communicate through this article is that Google, the universal search engine as I like to call it, is making the world completely dependent over it for knowledge, information and data acquisition. The fact that this article was authored 10 years ago makes it even more interesting, since Google was not as developed at that time as it is today. Moreover, Google had not penetrated deep into the everyday life of every single individual that owns a smartphone either. Today, Google search is accessible all around; from smartphones to tablets to smartwatches and what not. Even the Google Smart Home systems are becoming common with the passage of time, making the human mind dependent on something that was created by it.
According to Carr, the Google search to be specific and the internet in general, appears to be a deliberate act of manipulating the human brain and reprogramming it to override its true potential. The author argues that the modern day human beings are becoming increasingly reliant on Google search for the smallest and simplest pieces of information that exist. While appraising the potential of this search engine to compile significant amounts of information under one roof, Carr criticizes human logic and understanding. According to the author, Google search is reprogramming the human brain by altering its circuits slowly yet steadily, so that it loses its true potential that existed a couple of decades ago. The article further contends that Google search is altering the way avid readers used to read through texts. While they were more focused and patient in the past, they have become more fidgety and impatient today thanks to Google search and the ability to ‘power browse’ through the entire text without having to read through every single line (Carr). The overall ability of the human mind to stay focused and concentrate over the texts at hand is quickly declining. But it is rather unfortunate that the majority is unable to realize these facts and prefer convenience more than anything else. For instance, a user looking for certain keywords like ‘the game theory’ would simply open a series of articles and press ‘CTRL+F’ and enter these keywords to find exactly where it talks about the term, and what it is stating about it. In the earlier days, readers used to be more inclined and interested towards reading the whole text. The author quotes his own reading skills as an example by saying that he loses concentration after reading 2 or 3 pages (Carr).
In essence, the article tends to treat social and technical as separate yet closely interlinked domains where one compliments the other (Carr). As such, the author mentions Google search as the technology and constant lack of focus, concentration, and patience of readers as the social issue. Furthermore, the author also highlights the fact that the society is increasingly becoming reliant over Google search, while losing their memory for good. The article mentions the technology of Google search as metaphorically impacting the society by arguing whether it is making us stupid? The article encompasses call to action as it compels the readers to question whether Google search is a blessing or a curse, and whether one should be referring to it as the only Go To point. The significance and reliability of research through libraries and physical journals is highlighted, and the need to memorize the usual information has been signified.
Upon conducting secondary research, a considerable number of articles and research publications were identified. To begin with, an article published on the Learning Mind website cites a research conducted by Columbia and Harvard Universities arguing that search engines like Google and Bing are altering the way in which the human brain memorizes and remembers things (Learning Mind). The source identifies search engines as a new form of memory called ‘transactive memory’ (Learning Mind).
In another article published by the World Economic Forum, scientific research outcomes have been shared that position the brain as a ‘work in progress’ that is constantly evolving (World Economic Forum). The scientists conducted targeted cohort studies and revealed that increasing use of search engines is slowly but surely altering the human brain, making it more reliant on the virtual sources of information (World Economic Forum). It contends that when an individual makes an online search, it takes him into a superficial learning environment removing his ability to learn and memorize things for the long-term (World Economic Forum).
In another article published by the Business Insider, it is argued that Google search has made the human memory fuzzy (Shontell). As such, the Google search is playing the role of an external hard-drive that memorizes things for the human brain, allowing it to utilize the internal hard-drive as a means of processing and storing long-term information (Shontell). In a nutshell, a majority of research articles agree with the statement that Google search and other search engines are altering the human brain’s capacity to memorize and remember things.
Works Cited Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making Us Stupid?." The Atlantic. N. p., 2008. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/. 16 Oct. 2018. Learning Mind. "“Google Effect”: How Search Engines Affect Our Memory." Learning Mind. N. p., 2012. https://www.learning-mind.com/google-effect-how-search-engines-affect-our-memory/. 16 Oct. 2018. Shontell, Alyson. "Google Is Destroying Our Memories, Scientists Find." Business Insider. N. p., 2011. https://www.businessinsider.com/google-effect-on-brain-memory-psychology-2011-7. 16 Oct. 2018. World Economic Forum. "Scientists Say Google Is Changing Our Brains." World Economic Forum. N. p., 2018. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/how-google-is-changing-our-brains/. 16 Oct. 2018.
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