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A Lesson In Technology

The Twenty-first century will ultimately go down in history as the spark of a

technological society that has only ever before been seen in television shows and
children's imaginations. Since it began, only fourteen years ago, not only has technology
changed the way of life for billions of people around the globe, but now it is also
changing what it means to be human. With this miraculous change though, there have
been many conflicting emotions and ideas behind what technology is doing to human
capacity to learn and develop, and also, what it should do in the future, if anything. It is
all but clear that humanity has no desire to quit here, and everyday there are millions
working to make this technological boom grow even further until it reaches every person
on the face of Earth and completely reinvents how this species is viewed. But not
everyone is as excited about our future as the majority is. The minority views on
technology have many conflicting points and ideas about technology that have some sort
of relevance in a sense, but it seems that most of them are missing the big picture. Or
more so, the huge picture. That being that we can't stop here, if we are to stop, our species
will fall.
The biggest argument against technology being so entwined in our everyday lives,
is the idea that not only in technology taking over our everyday lives, but also that it is
quickly lowering our overall intelligence as a species. Nicholas Carr, the author of the
Wall Street Journal's 2008 bestseller "The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, From Edison
to Google" and also multiple other articles found in many well known magazines, is
extremely passionate about his idea that technology is changing the way humanity thinks.
In 2008, The Atlantic Monthly published a piece of Carr's work entitled "Is Google
Making Us Stupid?" in which he stated "My mind now expects to take in information the
way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles." (Pg. 371). This
sentenced revolves around his conclusion that Google and other technological perks, are
changing the way he thinks, and that because of them, he no longer has the ability to
spend hours reading through books and lengthy articles. He later went on to express that
"Once [he] was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now [he] zips along the surface like a
guy on a jet ski." (pg. 371). The Pew Research Center is "an independent, non-partisan
public opinion research organization that studies attitudes toward politics, the press, and
public policy issues." (pg. 377). In 2010, they published a response to Carr's "Is Google
Making Us Stupid?" entitled "Does Google Make Us Dumb?" in which they asked many
Internet experts their opinion of Carr's essay. "Technology isn't the problem here. It is
people's inherent characters traits. The internet and search engines just enable people to
be more of what they already are." (pg 381). The Pew Research Center's defense to Carr
is that the internet is a tool that can be used for good, but also can be used for bad.
Nicholas Carr's entire paper was generalising the population as a whole instead of
looking at the different types of people in the world. For some, yes the internet and

Google will surely lower their intelligence and distract them from learning, but for other,
the internet will serve as a tool to open their minds up to an endless amount of knolledge.
Before the internet, it was neccassary for us to be able to read through tons of information
for hours at a time to find one answer to our question, and the people that were willing to
commit to that much amount of work, are the people in which Google and technology are
benefitting the most. Now our society can worry more about coming up with solutions to
problems, instead of spending the majority of their time, trying to find out information
about the problem. Google isn't killing our intelligence, it is changing it to where we no
longer need to be able to dig through thousands of words, but instead can have the
answers simply given to us, and more of our brain power, time, and energy can be spent
solving problems and furthering our species. There's no need for any one to be a scuba
diver anymore, when we can come to the same conclusion, but as quick as a guy on a jet
ski, and thanks to technology that's not only possible, but already happening, and as Doc
Searls, co-author of "The Cluetrain Manifesto stated "...there is nothing about Google, or
the Net, to keep anyone from diving--and to depths that were not reachable before the Net
came along."(Does Google Make Us Stupid? Pg. 382).
The next issue humanity faces with the extreme advances in technology are the
problems that it has created already, and also some in which it did not create, but is the
only way in which we cannot only overcome these obstacles, but also thrive while doing
so. Some of the problems that humanity is facing as a whole, are these: Global-warming,
rapid population growth contributing to food shortages, low levels of fossil fuels causing
a demand for alternative energy sources, mental health issues on the rise, deadly diseases
and sickness, along with many other issues. Technology can help solve these problems
because if expanded more, it can literally inform every single person on the face of this
earth, with every single bit of information in which we as a species knows. As Hal Varian,
Google's Chief Economist expressed: "The smartest person in the world could well be
behind a plow in China or India. Providing universal access to information will allow
such people to realize their full potential, providing benefits to the entire word." (Does
Google Make Us Stupid? Pg. 379). Not only does Google and other technology tools give
us the information that we so desperately need to fight the demons of the twenty-first
century, but it also allows everyone a chance to make a difference, and come from many
walks of life and change the world. Without technology, that plow worker may very well
spend the rest of his life farming, never realising his true potential, while laying deep
inside his head may be the solution to Global Warming or the cure for Cancer. Whether
Carr and his supporters can see it or not, regardless of what they think technology is
doing to the human brain, we need technology to help us continue on as a species, or we
will surely fall. This is one topic that Nicholas Carr decided to digress from discuss in his
article, but is one in which completely changing the view on technology and what it
means to be a technological society. Yes, technology has had its downfalls, the most
obvious being the physical damage that it has inflicted on our planet, but if we are to

follow Carr's wishes, which seem to be that Google should not exists, than technological
advances will indefinately slow down, if not come to a halt completely. But the truth is, if
we are to continue using only the technology that we have now, than Global Warming
will not stop, and all the growing problems that we are facing and will face in the coming
years will not be able to be solved. Like it or not, humanity needs technology and it needs
it now, and with google giving it every bit of information that it needs, humanity can have
that technology sooner than it ever has been able to have it before.
Lastly, another largely debated topic about the internets effect on human
intelligence is the some what controversial topic the the Net isn't just making us less
intelligent, but is also reprgramming our brains altogether; turning us into a machine
without the ability to withhold our memories. As Nicholas Carr wrote "Over thte past few
years I've had the uncomfortable sense that someone, or something has been tinkering
with my brain, remapping the neural cicuitry, reprograming the memory." (Is Google
Making Us Stupid? Pg 370). Carr believes that technology is to blame for his failing
memory nd ability to withhold information, but just as humans are to balme guns for
violence, aparently some are to blame computers for lack of intelligence. The truth is
however, that Google is just a machine withhodling tons of information, but is completely
useless with out humanity using it. Just like is a Nuclear missle not at all dangerous until
a human gets their hands out to it, a computer does the nothing to humanity, until
humanity decides to unfold its affects onto themselves. As stated previous, Google is not
going to make intelligent people unintelligent, or unintelligent people intelligent, but it is
and will continue to merely act as a tool in which our ever pending character traits can
enter light and continue on. The only difference that Google is making on humanity is
positivity towards the ever progressing problems we face. One can surely remember
information just as well as someone could fifty years ago, so long as that is what they
wish to do, but the opposite is true as well, because someone can forget information just
as quickly as someone else would have fifty years ago. What Carr is failing to realize is
that it is not technology that is to blame for his failing memory, but himself, because
Google and other technologies can be used to further expand your knowledge and fill up
your memory with more information than ever before, and at an extremely quicker rate,
but only if we as a species allows it to. Humanity is way too diverse and complicated to
continue to generalise as a whole. Google will not make humanity smart, as it will not
make humanity dumb, it will simply continue to serve as an ever growing tool for the
smart to get smarter, and the dumb to remain the same.
After reading Nicholas Carr's and the Pew Research Center's conflicted papers, it
was clear that the answer to the question "Is Google Making Us Dumb?" is way more
complicated of a question than either side mentioned or pointed out, but has a clear
answer. Given that not only our species, but all other species and the earth itself, are
relying on our species to become more efficient and intelligent, it is exasperatingly clear

that Google is not the answer, but simply a tool for us to find the answers to our
problems. Generalizing a species so diverse as ours is foolish, if not stupid in itself. The
problem does not lie in technology, as do the benefits not lie in it either. The cause of all
of humanity's problems lie on the shoulders of each and every human being, and all of the
answers to our problems are right next to them. Google is not making humanity dumb,
and it surely is not making them smarter either, it is simply serving as a tool that
humanity needs to make itself more or less intelligent. It's time to quit blaming
technology and face the facts that humanities problems are simply there's, and the
solutions to those problems can only come from one place: Humanity.


Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" The Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008.
Copyright 2008 Nicholas Carr

Anderson, Janna. Raine, Lee. Does Google Make us stupid? The Future of the Internet.
Pew Internet Project, June 2010.

Exploring Relationships: Globalization and Learning in the 21st Century Custom

edition for Mid Michigan Community College. 2013. Copyright Pearson Learning