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What the Internet Does to Our Minds
In the summer of 2008, Nicholas Carr wrote a controversial cover story for Atlantic Monthly magazine, with a question: “Is Google Making us Stupid?” he claimed that the ease of internet searching and web surfing distractions might have hindered his ability to focus. Carr (2018) argues that, as the number of internet users increases, more people will struggle to remain interested in long pieces of information. Some bloggers, for example, Scott Karp, are discussing the phenomenon. Scott Karp wrote about digital media, admitting that he had quit reading books. He wrote that he was a college illuminated major who used to be an avid book reader. He speculates that he learns so much on the web because the way he read has changed, that is, he just looks for comfort, but it’s because of the way HE THINKS.
The internet has become a medium containing information. It is beneficial to have access to this information. It has the perfect memory of silicone, and it can be a great boon to think. It comes at a price, however. The internet seems to discard a person’s ability to focus and contemplate. The mind expects to take details of how the internet is distributing it (Carr, 2018). According to Bruce Friedman, because of the Internet, his mental habits have changed. He says that he has been robbed of his capacity to read and digest a long-standing article on the web or in print (Carr, 2018). He said he was no longer able to comprehend War and Peace. He said he has lost the ability to do any of these things. He even skips through a blog post, which is more than four paragraphs, because it seems too much to consume (Carr, 2018). The effect of the internet on people’s brains will not stop on the computer screen, because people’s minds are tuned to online platforms, and so mainstream media need to respond to the public’s modern perceptions (Carr, 2018). In conclusion, if the information on this subject comes from a handful of essays or books, the best method is to read all of these with total concentration. However, with access to a variety of sources of information on the topic, a good strategy is to skip first and get a summary. Skimming and concentrating can come together (Carr, 2018).
Anecdotes on their own, do not prove much. People are still waiting for long-term neurological experiments that will give a vivid picture of how brain function will be affected by the internet. However, an analysis was done by the University College London on online reading practices by showed that people might be in the midst of a cultural change based on the way they read and think (Carr, 2018). They examined computer logs showing visitor behavior on two research sites. The results showed that people using the sites skimmed and jumped from one source to another, and in rare cases, returned to any site they had previously visited. They wouldn’t read more than one or two pages of an article or book before going to another site. Sometimes they would have saved a lengthy post, but there would be no proof that they’ve ever gone back and read it (Carr, 2018).
According to Carr (2018), users do not conventionally read on the internet; there are signs that there are emerging new forms of reading as users navigate side to side through content. “We’re not just what we’re reading, We are the way we read,” says Maryanne Wolf. She says, when reading online, people become “pure decoders of information.” Their degree of text comprehension, in order to establish the rich mental connections that form when we read intensely without any interruption, remains mostly detached.
According to Young, the brain has the power to reconfigure itself to change the way it operates. When we use our intellectual technologies, we begin to take on the quality of these innovations (Carr, 2018).
The effect of the internet will not stop on the computer screen, because people’s minds are tuned to the online platforms, and so mainstream media need to respond to the modern perceptions of the public (Carr, 2018).
According to Carr (2018), Google’s headquarters is a high-rise Internet church, and Taylorism is the religion within its walls. It draws on the gigabytes of data of behavioral data collected through its web browser and other forums, performs thousands of experimental tests every day, and uses outcomes to optimize datasets that regulate how people access details and obtain meaningful information from it. What Taylor did for the handwork, Google did for the work of the mind (Carr, 2018).
Google claims to organize knowledge of the world and make it available worldwide. It aims to build a full search engine that defines it as something that precisely knows what you are thinking about and brings you back precisely what you really want. In its opinion, data is a resource, a realistic commodity that can be harvested and analyzed with technological efficiency. As a result, the smaller pieces of relevant data you can obtain, the quicker you can extract their significance, the more efficient you are as a thinker (Carr, 2018).
Where is this going to end? Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the brilliant young men who created Google while studying for their doctoral degree in computer science at Stanford, frequently talk about their idea of turning their search engine into artificial intelligence. This HAL-like system could directly be linked to our brains. “The greatest web browser is as intelligent as a person — or wiser,” Page said in a lecture a couple of years ago. “For us, searching is a way to act on A.I technology.” In an interview with Newsweek in 2004, Brin said, “Of course, if you had all the world’s information directly connected to your brain or an automated brain that was sharper than your brain, you’d be better off.” Page told the scientists’ convention that Google is “actually trying to create and do large-scale, artificial intelligence.”
Their simple presumption is that we would all “be well off” if our brains were supplemented, or even substituted, by artificial intelligence is troubling. This implies that the outcome of a mechanical process involving a sequence of subtle steps, which can be detached, quantified, and fine-tuned, can result to intellectual. In the world of Google, the world that we enter when we go on the internet, there is little place for the bleakness of deliberation. Vagueness should not be a path to understanding, but a mistake that needs to be tackled. The human mind is just an old computer that requires a powerful speed and a larger flash drive (Carr, 2018).
The notion that our brains should function as high-speed data processing machines is not just part of the internet dynamics, but is also the prevailing business strategy of the network. The faster we navigate the internet — the more links we click and the pages we view — the more opportunities Google and other businesses have to obtain data about us and send us ads. A majority of consumer internet owners have a commercial interest in gathering the crumbs of data that we leave behind as we move from the link to the connection — the more crumbs, the better. These businesses would not want to promote leisurely reading and slow, reflective thinking. It is in their financial interests to lead us to distractions (Carr, 2018).
Yes, I think you should be wary of my skepticism. Maybe those who discredit Internet opponents as Luddites or nostalgists will prove right, and the golden age of scientific innovation and universal knowledge will emerge from our hyperactive, data-driven minds. Again, the Net is not an alphabet, so although it can replace the printing press, it produces something completely different (Carr, 2018). The kind of thoughtful text that the series of pages encourages is of interest, not only to the awareness that we gain from the writer’s words but also to the scholarly stimuli that these words generate inside our minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the continuous, uninterrupted reading of a book, or through some other act of deliberation, we make our connections, draw our observations and comparisons, promote our thoughts. Extensive reading, as Maryanne Wolf states that extensive reading is an indistinguishable form of deep thinking (Carr, 2018).
Carr (2018) argues that if we let go these quiet spaces or replace them with the material, we will abandon something essential to our way of life and ourselves. Richard Foreman wrote on an essay what was at stake: As we are drained from our ‘inner repertoire of dense cultural heritage, He concluded, we are at risk becoming “pancake people”—widespread and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the touch of a button.
In conclusion, if the information on this subject comes from a handful of essays or books, the best method is to read all these with total concentration. However, with access to several sources of information on the subject, a good strategy is to skip first and get an overview. Skimming and concentrating may come together (Carr, 2018).
Carr, N. (2018, June 13). The Atlantic. The Atlantic; theatlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/