Is Google making us stupid? Free Essay

Response Essay to Nicholas-Carr’s Essay “Is Google making us stupid?”

Nowadays the theme of modern communication technologies is one of the most popular and widely discussed by various categories of people, including scientists and just usual people, leading a friendly conversation. A lot of attention is paid to the fact that innovative technologies have completely changes the way, humans live, communicate, work, get information, have fun and so on. They are utterly influential for younger generations, who can not even imagine their lives without computers, smart phones and Internet. Nicholas Carr in his well-known essay Is Google Making Us Stupid? focuses upon concrete issue of the way how the information in presented in the Internet and to what extent this type of information presentation is influential for adult minds. His essay hooks the attention of the readers from the first lines and then sustains it till the very end of it. The author manipulates a number of methods and strategies in order to evoke versatile emotions by the audience and sound persuasive for different categories of the readers. Nicholas Carr worked as an author for the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, then he was one of the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Based on this biographical data, it is possible to conclude that he has enough competence to talk about this topic and find the convincing arguments for his readers. The basic idea, which is expressed by Nicholas Carr in his essay Is Google Making Us Stupid? is that the Internet has strong potential for changing of the way of humans’ thinking and learning irrespective of their age and other objective characteristics.

To attract attention of the readers from the first lines, Carr uses the quotes from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The quote is related to the fact that not only humans are able to control computers, but also computers became so sophisticated that they are able to manipulate human brains. These illustrations were used by the author in order to show what is happening to human minds in the modern world and to underline that these changes do not belong to the sphere of fantasies any more, rather they became the reality. He draws the connection between the situation with Hal and modern people, underlining that he himself developed the feeling that there is some kind of force, which alters his own mind. Most of modern individuals, irrespective of their age, are not able to focus upon huge portions of information for a long period of time, as it was before. Neither are they able to think critically about the things, they face. The major force, which led towards these changes, is the Internet and human dependence upon it.

Carr starts from describing of his own experience in the Internet. He remembers his own ability to focus his attention upon some reading or information before this era of the Internet started. He provides some personalized background about the way, how he used to read book, to search for the new information for his work and just for his interest. And now he is concerned about his ability to write smoothly, as he used to do before and his dependence upon hyperlinks. The fact that he is ready to acknowledge that he is also one of the individuals, who personally experienced the things, he is talking about, reinforces his argument and makes the readers perceive his words openly. One of the interesting strategies, applied by Carr in his essay, is involvement of the information about his friends. Most probably this was done with the intention to show that he did his best to base his argumentation not only on scientific research, but obtained some data from usual people, engaged in the sphere. “I’m not the only one. When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances—literary types, most of them—many say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing.” (Carr 2008).

If Carr had stopped just upon his own experience and listed the opinions of his friends this would be definitely not enough for this essay. He acknowledges that these are just “anecdotes” and thus he switches to the portion of the research data, obtained from established and more serious sources. For example Carr provides citations from the University College London, where it was found out that Internet users tend just to skim the pages and quickly pass from one topic to another without ever returning to the stores information, especially if these are long articles. Along with this the author provides the information from the developmental psychologist Maryanne Wolfe: “We have to teach our minds how to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand. And the media or other technologies we use in learning and practicing the craft of reading play an important part in shaping the neural circuits inside our brains.” (Carr 2008) According to her reading is not an instinctive skill, as for example speaking or walking, which means that humans brains are ready to perceive the information in the way, they are made to do it. Carr relates this information with his own statement that the Internet changes the way, how people read and perceive new information nowadays.

In his essay Nicholas Carr refers to the experience of Frederick Winslow Taylor, who worked at the Midvale Steel plant in Philadelphia and conducted a number of experiments in order to improve the efficiency of the machinists, working at that plant. He was successful, as he gradually managed to make the work of individuals very close to the work of the machines. It was precise and quick. In the modern world, when somebody says that a human mind operates like a computer, it is considered to be a compliment, meaning that this mind is efficient and quick. But treating this from a different point of view might lead to the question – if a human mind had created the computer, could this be considered a progress, if it started to think in the same way, like its creation? Even if to acknowledge that the experiments of Taylor were successful and he really managed to improve the speed and efficiency of work at his plant, but here is need to separate the physical and mental spheres in this case. If to perform certain actions a person has to acquire such algorithm, which would help him to do it quicker, why should the same be applied to the sphere of mental development and analyzes? Mental abilities of humans should not be limited by any factors, including their own creations – computers.

The essay of Carr does not lack emotional appeal, which is important for convincing the audience of the correctness of the presented argumentation. He mentions the well-known mission of Google to create the best and perfect search engine. This fact is actually not new and is widely known and millions of users worldwide prefer to use exactly Google, when they need some sort of information. However, Carr helps to treat this aim from a different side. Nobody really pays attention that when the creators of Google say that they want Google to be so perfect that it would understand what people want and really need and give it back to them, there is a disturbing thing. People do not stop here to think that they will have their time and effort saved, but at the same time they will be deprived of the chance to consider a huge portion of different information and facts in order to find what they need. They will not have any need to apply their analytical thinking and won’t be able to know more about all sides of the problem, they are investigating. “In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation. Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.” (Carr 2008). In fact all the important ideas and findings were the results of comparison, ambiguity and doubt. In this way provision of narrow information makes individuals less efficient thinkers and researchers.

Overall, the rise of technology, its penetrating into all life spheres of modern humans, almost all people become dependant upon the Internet and huge amount of information, available just with a couple of clicks. People are free to just open the Google page and print their question, and then the answer comes immediately. On the surface this seems to be convenient and rewarding. People do not have to spend a lot of time looking for the information at the libraries and various printed sources, they do not have to sort out piles of paper in order to find only one important line there. Nicholas Carr in his essay Is Google Making Us Stupid? helps to consider this fact from an absolutely different position and point of view. He presents his versatile argumentation, including his own experience and experiences of his friends, statistical data and research, portions of facts from the past in order to convince the readers that Google does not have purely positive impact upon modern humans. The creators of Google are motivated to create a unique search engine for the sake of becoming the best and of earning more money without considering the side-effects of their creation, which are loss of critical thinking ability of humans.

Works cited:

Carr, Nicholas. Is Google Making Us Stupid? The Atlantic, 2008

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: August 11, 2022] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]
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