Battle Between Good and Bad and is Google Making Us Stupid

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“Who’s better at chess-computers or humans?” ( Thompson 340). This question has brought a lot of attention to the table, and has been researched to find results. Internet and technology have been around my whole life, so my brain has always been trained to use the internet in my thinking process. The internet allows fast, easy access to most questions arising on a daily basis in a variety of settings. Whether completing a homework assignment, or wanting information on a controversial subject, the internet is the first trusted source for most of society today. The topic of, is technology changing us for the good or for the worse, has been argued over for many years. People have done research on how the internet has affected human brains, and how it changes how people think, and process information. Nicholas Carr addresses the issue that Google has affected our attention span and our overall ability to think critically in a negative way. He tries to use many rhetorical devices to persuade the audience that in a sense, google is making us stupid. Carr uses a pessimist point of view to hook his readers into believing that technology is taking a negative toll on the human brain. Another point of view to look at this issue is through author, Clive Thompson. Thompson tries to convince his readers that the internet and technology are changing people for the good, and that the internet is actually advancing us as critical thinkers. He goes into detail on how there are so many new tools and devices that people can use to help with communication, sharing thoughts, and creativity. Thompson tries to take this topic into a more optimistic point of view and shows the audience that there are a lot of good uses for technology. The two authors, Carr and Thompson, take this argumentative topic in diverse views. Nicholas Carr uses his own reputation as an author in order to validate and back his claim that people are losing the ability to think for themselves. Although to some audiences, Carr may be a well-known, credible source, but if the reader is not familiar with Carr’s work, this use of persuasion is an ineffective attempt. Thompson does better at explaining his reasoning on why technology is changing us for the good and that the internet is a positive resource. The astronomical increase pertaining to the use of the internet has certainly changed the way of our overall thinking processes; however, just as with any technological advancement throughout history, progress leads to better, more effective and efficient processes. Henry Steele Commager said it best: “Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change.” The internet is indeed changing us as thinkers; these changes are pushing us towards progress that is powerful and will result in better thinking abilities as a whole.

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Nicholas Carr explores the idea that we are losing our ability to focus on and to think critically about long complex printed material. His article leads the reader to believe that in a sense, the internet is actually making us stupid. The article, “Is Google Making us Stupid” implies that our brains have actually changed at the neuron level due to the increased use of “on demand” styles of research. Our brains have been trained to receive information quickly and with little effort; therefore, Carr claims that we are losing the ability to look in depth for meaning within any complex texts, or even novels. Carr researches the question of what we are really losing as we shift towards the internet as our main source of information and veer further away from thinking for ourselves. In the second article, “ Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better,” Thompson opens the conversation on how technology is opening new doors, broadens our memory, has abundant connections to many people, places, and can help with communication. He explains that people are scared that life will never be the same, our thought process is degrading because of technology, then he goes on to tell us that in the past, people learned how to adapt to things, and so are we. In the article, Thompson harnesses some of the latest discoveries in social science to explore how digital technology taps into our long-standing habits of mind, pushing them in positive new directions. Thompson introduced and shared his opinion on how technology is brightening our future, giving us new ways to learn, communicate, and share our understandings. He backs up his claim by showing evidence that we are learning more, retaining information longer, and are able to connect with global audiences all due to the nature of the internet. Thompson goes onto to discuss how throughout history, all technological advances have created the same anxieties as the internet currently is. Just as with the invention of the printing press, and telegraph, many people questioned those changes and wondered if they would result in positive changes. Those same worries have been brought up about the internet, but as with all of the positive, progressive changes that came along with the printing press, and the telegraph, the same will ring true of the internet. Change simply takes time for people to grasp and to accept, but in the end, we will end of retaining what’s good, but then embracing the new advancements.

Nicholas Carr tries to convince his readers that our minds are shifting and molding from technology. He goes into detail how google is changing us for the worse. In the two texts, they converge when Thompson says, “ If you asked me twenty years ago, when I first started writing about technology, I would have said bad.” Technology has changed and progressed so much over twenty years. In the article, “Is Google Making us Stupid,” Carr uses rhetorical devices to convince his readers, but has many fallacies that make it hard to see his point of view.There are a few examples that Carr uses in his article showing Hasty Generalization. One example is on page 316 when Carr mentions studies done from the University of London. The students of the university examined computer logs and looked in depth at two specific websites over a period of five years. They were tracking the search habits and patterns of the website users. They documented two different websites, and examined how long people were on them, or how often they would go to these two specific websites. They found that people would usually skim, or hop to the next website after reading 3-5 paragraphs, and that they would rarely go back to those articles. In Carr’s claim for his article, he leads his audience to believe that it was a larger-scale research-based project than it really was. Carr only used his close friends as credible sources and often used bloggers. Thompson demonstrates credible facts of how technology is helping us grow. On page 340 in “Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better,” he goes on to tell about a chess tournament where Garry Kasparov, a world champion, was defeated by IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer in 1997. The computer could calculate two hundred million positions a second. Kasparov said, “I lost my fighting spirit.” In 1998, Kasparov played in a human-computer tournament where a person was on a team with a computer against their opponent, a person and a computer. Thompson uses this as an example to show us that we can adapt to new advanced technology.

The two articles contrast because Carr is arguing that google is making us stupid, and that electronic components have a negative development on peoples brains, daily activity, and peoples thought process, while Thompson is saying that this change in society is for the good. Thompson gives his readers the idea that our minds are more creative and people have more tools to explore. From the article, “Smarter than you Think: How Technology is changing our minds for the better,” on page 347, Thompson says, “We’re all playing advanced chess these days. We just haven’t learned to appreciate it.” Many people are looking at the internet as negative thing and that it is only making us stupid. We are smart enough enough to make all this new technology that can make us grow, and progress immensely. This adjustment is good, and people are adapting and learning new ways to life!

“Change is inevitable. Evolution however is optional.” In this quote, Tony Robbins captures the idea that whether we like it or not, there will continue to be changes in the way we access information. The key is to decide if that change will result in a positive evolution in the way that we process the information. Technology in today’s world is used for almost everything and is a positive resource due to the fact that information is literally at our fingertips. The internet helps us become more creative and gives us a chance to express ourselves. In the article, “ Smarter Than you Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for The Better,” Thompson starts out using chess players as an example of how technology is a positive influence. He says, “When chess players were genuinely passionate about learning and being creative in their game, computers didn’t degrade their own human abilities. It helped them internalize the game much more profoundly and advance to new levels of human excellence.” On the other hand, Nicholas Carr uses a point of view showing the negative effects of the internet by exploring our inability to remain focused. The two articles are very significant to us today because technology is changing the way people think, process information, and communicate. I believe that just as with any major shift in the way we do something, the change can be viewed in a negative or positive light. The imperative thing to remember is that if the change is inevitable, which in the case of an increase in internet use is, then we must embrace the change, and channel those changes into allowing a positive evolution to take place within each of us.

 Throughout history, progress has a direct correlation with an increase in capacity that we can access. The internet is simply another example of how progress is pushing us into being more effective, creative, efficient thinkers.              

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