Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Response: google making us stupid?

After reading Nicholas Carr's Article, It came to my understanding that the internet has made viewers less intelligent or keeps us distracted from other things more important. Like having to type up an essay or blog online for class. We tend to get distracted when it comes to doing things like this mainly because trying to focus on one thing on the internet could get boring, when there are other sites or ads that got our attention. The hardest thing about the internet is indeed not being able to focus or concentrate more than we usually would. There is a vast amount of information that we can find on the web and we tend to skim through it rather than reading a full article. 
The distraction of the internet has lead us to be less comprehensive, based on another article "Does the internet make you dumber?" related to the article by Carr. This article showed that people who read links or e-books off the internet tend to learn less than people who read the actual text. I believe this is true because are way of thinking is "scattered and superficial" stated Carr.The web has cost us to be more lazy to read or write long articles. Maybe because we have more access a lot of things and  technology is more accessible to us than it was how many years back. We find it much easier to use the web and search anything we need to find rather then going to the library to find it. I just find it hard to believe that maybe other generations to come will be dumber? Or more dependent on google or the internet like we are today but receiving false information in the process. 

Attention Span: Aborted

I'll start of by saying that I agree with many points made by Nicholas Carr in his "Is Google making us stupid?". The most prominent point that jumped out at me was the fact that he, as well as I, have noticed the shortening of our attention spans. For a few months, before the start of spring semester, I had been finding myself drifting off when I tried to read something, anything for that matter. About a week before we were assigned this article I had started asking myself "why?". Reading, what used to be an enjoyable pastime, had become something of a challenge for me. For months I had been barely able to make it through a chapter of any reading material and found it exceptionally painful trying to read my text books for classes. So what had changed? Until I read this article I had no answer. As I was reading the text, which I will admit was just as painful, I saw the same signs of boredom Carr was pointing out. As I scanned the rows of words trying my hardest to get to the bottom of the longest article I've ever read in my life, I realized I was doing exactly what he was arguing about, I was yet again just skimming the surface of yet another passage, until I made myself pay attention. Thinking back to when this pattern of behaviour started I could remember a much younger me, sitting on my bed, and reading into the long hours of the night. I could remember being drug into the world that books created for me, I could remember the excitement at a new book from the library, right up until the point where I began high school. That's where it all started. My downward spiral into the abyss of the Internet, into skimming nothing but the bare minimum for only the information I happened to be looking for. It was all just so easy. With the click of a few buttons I had everything I had ever needed. The answer to my homework question, the reason the sky is blue, and every other random tidbit of information I could ever wish for. So to answer the question "Is Google making us stupid?",well I don't know, but I do know that it is changing the way we get our information. Google is changing where we get our information, who we get it from, and the way we process the information we are given. Just like the typewriter and the printing press before it, the pioneer of the Internet search engines is changing the way things are done in the general population. Concerns about the effect that new technolgy has on our psyches is being brought into the light, just like their ancestors before them. What lays down the road in this new world of Google surfing however is yet to be seen.

I threw it on the ground.

I can agree on some of the aspects Carr stated in his article. The excessively long article with supported statements shows Nick felt a little passion about the subject. It was obvious he wanted a reaction out of the reader, however his attempts were futile.

The Internet does not make people stupid.  The decisions which people choose to make is what makes them stupid. We created technology; technology can only make us stupid if we let it make us stupid. The brain is like a computer; every person is free to program it the way they chose. If we want to experience literature in depth we can read books. Usually we choose to get our information from the Internet instead of books because it’s faster and we can decode the necessary information.

The Internet can be both good and bad depending on how it is used. The Internet is usually only bad when someone is spending an obscene amount of lifetime in social networking websites or if a spouse is looking at naughty websites. The primary good of the Internet is the vast majority of information at our disposal. Instead of reading from one author we can connect to thousands of authors, giving us different opinions to strengthen us as writers. Our productivity for learning has soared.  As writers we have become great at picking out the meat and potatoes of the worldwide web to support our causes. Reading books used to be pretty exhilarating, but lets face it, we have better things to do like wining and dining out that babe from the office.

Taking in only the pertinent information is all that’s necessary for completing a task. If this is what the majority of the population is doing, then that only means we are evolving to a whole new level of intelligence. Nicholas Carr is a concerned man. His theory is elucidated in a persuasive article disguised as an informative article. It was easy understanding and relating to some of the things mentioned in his article, but he completely lost me to boredom at one point.  I actually just looked up a summation of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey instead because it seemed far more interesting. This just made me think of how much I surf the Internet while juggling my education.

Fast information is convenient, but for the most part it’s taken for granted because it’s become a part of our everyday life. For example, many people carry smart phones, which is treated as a necessity. The capability to access the web through the phone is a relatively new concept, but it is truly amazing. I feel naked without my IPhone, it’s as if I have no connection with the outside world. In conclusion the Internet is more of a convenience then a problem. For better or for worse there is no slowing down the evolution of the computer.

Google Response

There is not much to argue about what Carr is trying to say. In his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Carr is just giving a lot of information as to how Google or the internet is making us stupid with his own opinion.

To me, I don’t think the internet is making us stupid. It’s just making our everyday lives with the internet more intelligent by reading, or working on our online homework. I also think that he is trying to argue with the readers as to how the internet is making us stupid socially, which practically isn’t. There are tons of people out there who are using technology as there priority. Look at it this way, when you go to the library, you will see anonymous people with their laptops reading, looking up at a source online, etc instead of glancing through the book looking for some information that will take them hours to find what they are looking for. Before technology got more useful, people use to look up sources through books. Technology, however, made everything so quick to find what you’re looking for. But, it may take an hour or so to find the right source.

Google, by the way, is not making us stupid either. People go to this website to look for sources to read, or just to read for the people who love to socialize with their reading habits. There are all different kind of sources in this website. It is like a medication or a habit for most of the people who go online occasionally.

The type of genre Carr is writing about, I think is an academic writing because he is mostly lecturing about how Google is stupid in his own terms using other sources. Carr might have made a point to what he was trying to say about how the internet is wasting our time. In my point of view, I think that we are not wasting our time. We may have by going to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and all the other non important websites, but that is just to catch up with our family, or friends. The most important about going on the internet is that we don’t have to look through the book. Isn’t that what you would think too?

Shallow Hal

The article of interest by Nicholas Carr brings up some interesting points. I found it ironic that he argued that Google and the internet have ebbed away at his attention span yet one had to intensely concentrate to follow his arguments. I found his points overstated and I felt bogged down by minutia as I attempted to follow his train of thought.
His purpose was to demonstrate that the internet and Google have changed the way we think to the degree even that our chemical and neurological make-up have been altered. It is true that we are well into the internet/information age. The amount of information we are exposed to increases on a daily basis. 30 years ago it would have taken several weeks to bring the amount of research to bear on any given topic that now takes us about 15 minutes performing a Google search and clicking on hyperlinks. This fact is irrefutable. Within a year we could be potentially exposed to more information than people in the pre-internet age were exposed to in a lifetime.  The reality is that we still have the same amount of time available to us in one day. Therefore, it is necessary for us to absorb information in manageable sound bytes. However, I am not convinced that this phenomenon is changing the way we think or as the author states in his title, "making us stupid."
I would certainly classify this article as academic. He backs up his points with well-researched references to history and even philosophy. It seems that he assumes that he is addressing a well-informed and educated audience. There is no doubt that he is intelligent, educated and quite comfortable swimming through academic water yet he is still human. Humans are subject to bias and clouding their research with emotion thus losing objectivity. I do appreciate the fact that he does admit his proclivities when he says, "maybe I am just a worrywart."
I concur. I think he is erring on the paranoid side. His point is overstated. Certainly, Google may be coming up with algorithms that streamline our searches that best fit our needs but this falls short of turning us into non-thinking automatons. No matter how smart, powerful, or omniscient Google and/or the internet is they cannot erase the human brain's capacity to sustain rational thought. Many would say that this is the very thing that makes us human and separates us from robots and animals.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Is the Internet “Dumbing Down" Society?

           The article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr brings up some great points about Google and the Internet and how it is affecting people in general. It is very important for people to realize and understand how these advances in modern technology are affecting society as a whole and can have positive and negative influences. In today’s world many people are focused on the “now, now, now” syndrome, they want what they want when they want. The Internet and mobile devices have made this possible; people can instantly bring up whatever they want at the moment they’re thinking it or switch from subject to subject without really getting full synapses of one or the other. While the Internet and technology have made this true, it necessarily isn’t making people dumb but rather changing how peoples brains process information and deal with it.
Technological advances that have occurred over the last couple of decades have had some really positive points to society. The Internet for example can be accessed nowadays wherever a wireless signal is at, making everything from emergencies to simply making assignments for school and work easier to deal with. The Internet helps inform the whole world what is going on right at the moment it is occurring. A vast array of subjects can pop up in a matter of seconds that people can look into and get a better understanding about, some for if it hadn’t been for the Internet people would’ve have never discovered in the day to day. Yes, of course the Internet makes false, non credible information available to be viewed but that’s where it requires people to use a little bit of thinking. People have to take an interest in to where they are getting their information and follow the saying “you can’t always believe what you read”.
To go more in depth to what Carr actually mentioned in his article, the Internet has had a big influence in how people read and how we process information. The Internet and many other technical devices such as mobile phones have made peoples attentions spans quite less than what the average persons was years ago. The Internet makes it so easy for people to turn their attention to one thing to another when they have lost interest in one or see something that’s more appealing at the time. Reading something on the Internet and reading something actually in print are very different, though they may not seem it. Like mentioned earlier, information you find on the Internet can be posted by anyone it may be false, biased, or overly exaggerated. This has it's perks as well though, you can get multiple views on a single subjects that can open up your mind to different possibilities and views which in turn increases thinking. Things on the Internet can also be put in front of you that you may not want to view or have an interest in which can easily be ignored but create annoyance, distraction, and confusion.

In my personal opinion, I feel the Internet and technology have opened up a lot of doors for people. Any one can go on the Internet and post what they want for instance, in this very class, we’re blogging about the things our instructor wants us to and sharing our views. Some people may view it and be interested and others may not. I believe the Internet has made it easier for children, seniors, and people at work and school to view and understand topics. It is much easier for people in remote locations to get on a computer and keep in touch with the world than it would be if they solely had rely on getting papers, journal articles, and books. People whether having a shelf of books in front of them or a computer are going to view only the subjects that spark their interest so that’s where I believe people wouldn’t really change what information they are viewing nowadays in the Internet wasn’t around. Overall I believe the Internet has it's good and bad influences on society. Accessibility and a vast array of subjects being the key positive points, while credibility and affecting humans attention spans being the negative.

Hal's my main man.

Mr. Carr’s article was a fantastic read. I found myself executing exactly what Carr was informing and driving his conclusions to. Not only was I trying to find keywords and other significant signs indicating where the meat of the article was but also, discovering how impatient I am when it comes to devouring and consuming wholesome brain food. It seems that Carr creates an article founded on a hybrid combination of writing styles.  That at the foundation is an informative and comical view into his own evolving adaptation, while utilizing some pretty direct argumentative points to fill this article to the brim of too much uneasiness. Or perhaps, it’s my conscious reacting to the newly discovered gem hidden away in an ever changing and shifting landscape too grandeur to notice the truth.

Carr’s reference in the article of the classic sci-fi book and movie, 2001: Space Odyssey was some pretty serious eye candy for me.  Hal easily could have a place representing the top sci-fi villains of all time. Hal was made to perform with a multitude of duty and skills, and had the ability to understand emotions. Hal, in the hands of imperfect human ambition, is built to help man achieve greatness as Hal processes and performs the tasks that are too burdensome to man.  After some unfortunate events Hal, understanding the emotion of danger and threat, perceives that he is in danger of being switched off and chooses to preemptively defend himself against the men he was designed to protect and work with. That is the doubled edge sword that Carr is insisting that we are dealing with the risk of becoming too reliant on a new way of everyday life, while potentially forgetting some useful practical tools of the old system.

I, even in the situation of a phenomenon of Hal betraying his human companions, would still insist that technology is still a benefit to man.  Just as Socrates was a cautious man of writing, and other men of the printing press, man has still survived the blade that was prophesied to bring them to destruction. Sure, my attention span may have dwindled with using the Internet but just Carr reflected, maybe that is the system evolving. Maybe we are now designed to capture and consume the little gold nuggets of information rather than devour a 6-course meal and a fine desert of knowledge.

I feel that we are on a brink of a new frontier. As new technology is introduced into our diet I feel it is necessary to look endlessly at the pros and cons of this rapidly changing landscape.  I often have perceived that even though old systems and old ways become outdated and often die, it is sill important to remember how they work or how to find a way to access them. After all, where would the crew of The Next Generation be if they were stranded on an unknown planet without a replicator? Who would cook, Data? Would it then be bland soulless food? Of course, that setting is in a future where man has overcome the hump of politicians that determine how technology and data are viewed.

'Is Google Making Us Stupid?' Response

    Carr makes some excellent points about just how ingrained computers and the internet are in our lives. We encounter them everyday in our personal lives with social networking, as a part of our education, for business and in the workplace. Because of today’s technology, we are used to everything being instantaneous. Our minds wander easily and it is especially easy to become distracted when we use the internet. This lack of concentration is probably a beneficial thing for companies because they can take advantage of our distraction and bombard us with ads. 
    The phenomenon of the internet is that it can deliver multiple diversions and conveniences to us and can take on the job of almost whatever we need it to be. There is online shopping and newspapers, and other sites like facebook and youtube which allow us to interact with each other on a worldwide scale. There are great advantages to being able to access the wealth of information which the internet provides. As Carr points out, researching takes far less time than it used to as there are many easily accessible online sources. There are also downsides to the internet, one of which Carr lists as our declining capacity to comprehend and interpret long pieces of writing.
    The internet and computers are truly incredible things that have been hailed as the technological breakthrough of our age. While they are powerful tools that enables us to do extraordinary things, sometimes we let them take too strong a precedence over our lives. I think this is part of the reason Carr has fears about technology dumbing us down. It can get to be like an addiction in some ways - such as the constant impulse to check in on facebook or twitter. It is easy to get distracted and it is probably a good idea to try to limit the time we spend on computers, but this is is much easier said than done.
    On the whole, I agree with many of the points Carr makes in this article. I can totally understand when he points out how difficult it is to lose track and get distracted while on the internet. He balances out his article with both pros and cons of the internet, and much of his writing is unbiased and informative. However, what Carr calls “Kubrick’s dark prophecy,” (how our reliance on computers is making our intelligence more artificial than theirs) might be true up to a point, but seems to be a rather skeptical view.
    I find that a good book will still hold  my attention, so I would not go as far as to say that google, the internet or computers are making us stupid in this way that pertains to reading. It is important to note that our brains are re-wiring themselves in order for us to try to comprehend and keep up with the quick pace of the internet, which is not the same thing as making us stupid. Carr points out that his mind “now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.” This is just adapting and learning to think in a different way.


Carr starts out by stating his opinion and then backing it up with numerous statements. I agree completely with Carr’s essay.  I have found in the last few years that my attention span has shortened when it comes to reading.  Just like Carr, I used to get lost in books and could read for hours on end.  Now it seems I can hardly get through the first chapter, let alone the first few pages without finding myself bored.  The Internet is all about instant gratification.  When information is needed just type it in and instantly you get 89,000,000 hits. It is no longer absolutely and completely necessary to go to the library and spend time researching through many books and spend time reading articles.  In today’s world all a person has to do is scroll through a few websites and they have all their research.  I myself even found it hard to not get distracted and move on when reading this article.  Face book notifications popping up, adds on the side, all contributed to my distractions. I agree with Carr when he says how helpful the Internet has been with research. All I have to do is just skip around to a few other sites scroll around and you have your answer. Subjects that used to take years of research now take a few days of surfing the Internet.
An interesting fact that I found in this article was when Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University, stated that reading is not instinctive. “It’s not etched into our genes the way speech is. 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.”- Maryanne Wolf.  This was very interesting to me because it makes sense.  Language comes so easy to humans.  It’s a natural way of communication.  Reading and writing had to be studied and practiced and learned. Internet chat has altered how we write and read also.  I can admit that if I get an instant message longer than a few sentences I am more likely to not answer or read it.  This is because I am so used to short instant messages.  Now that I am in college reading has become a necessity and I still find myself flipping through the pages of my textbooks and when I get an online assignment it takes me a long time to get through it because of all the distractions.  I guess you could say it really just depends on the person but and their ability to concentrate but I know people relate to having their attention spans shortened by instant information. 
Online articles are especially hard for me to concentrate on because staring at a computer screen for so long without it moving hurts my eyes.  I always end up scrolling up and down the page and clicking on other things.  I don’t necessarily agree with Google making us stupid but I do think that we have become lazy because of the Internet.

Is Google Making Us Stupid Respone

After reading Nicholas Carr's article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"  he really got me thinking about the internet and how it affects our thought process. I would have to agree with him on some points, such as the fact that the internet has wildly changed the way we receive our information and how we read articles on the internet. I would also have to disagree with him on some points, such as the internet making us stupid and causing us to do more skimming then actual reading.
The first thing I would to point to point out is how utterly boring his article was to read, he wasn't even trying to interact with the readers. For some reason he thought that if he talked about  Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey for half of his article it would make it more interesting. If anything all that did was drive people away from his article and onto more interesting topics. Other then that pointless reference that he comes back to over and over again, he just lists random facts and 100 other hyperlinks on where we can go to read more into something we don't care about. I would understand if he had used maybe 5 or so links to get his point across, but there is at least one or more links in almost every paragraph. Its like he doesn't even want us to read his article at all, just use it as a reference to find unnecessary information such as Phaedrus or War and Peace.
Throughout his lengthily article he did manage to get some good points across to the readers. Such as how the style in which we read has changed, and "as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence."
Then there is the idea that the internet is destroying our intelligence just because we can find more information on it then going to a local library and spending 5 hours scouring the pages of a book filled with useless and redundant information just to find that 1 small piece of needed information. Just because our "new era" of giving and receiving information is more organized and efficient doesn't mean that our society is plumiting into an idiocrity. Our society as a whole is reading and is more informed today then we probably ever were, be it through facebook, a blogpost or an article that has more to deal with a crappy space movie than the title itself. All I am saying is yes, the internet has changed the way we read and receive our information, but just because we don't devote our full attention to a 500 page book about how an astronaut met a unicorn on Uranus doesn't really make the change bad now does it?

Reading Response Uno

To me, this piece of literature is a paradigm of his argument.  He really seems to be trying to drag the topic on and on and prove his point by simply losing the interest of his readers.  Also, I believe that the post is from a more informative standpoint, as he goes along and points out all sorts of examples of people who agree with his opinion.  However, at the same time, it is also somewhat arguementive as it is still naught but an opinion, and his way of arguing it is by showing the support he has.

And his publisher, The Atlantic, seems to be of a more liberal alignment.  Although I don't see how their political bias would affect THIS essay in particular, I can't think of any reason either side of the political "rainbow" would have any outstanding bias for or against Google.

As for whether he is actually targeting any specific audience, it doesn't seem like that's the case to me.  If anything, all he seems to be looking for is acknowledgment and support on his idea, so he would likely, or perhaps obviously, aiming it more towards people of the same mindset as he is.

Also, I agree with what Kyle posted.  The internet is definitely a catalyst for countless distractions, but like anything else, it is expected to have it's pros and cons.  Sure he might be having some ADD type symptoms towards his reading-style, but at the same time he can find any source he likes with a flick of his fingertips.  and, with what James Burke said, the human brain is indeed one of the most adaptive things upon the face of the Earth, however, I'm of a more Swiss mindset, I can't choose whether the changes brought about by the internet are good/bad.  Any changes in a person's mind would be affected by too many variables I think.  Possibly the biggest one would be a person's character I should think, and people's characters are vastly differed from one another.  So I think that the changes brought about by any brain alterations would likely balance themselves out, more or less yin for yang.

Personally, I can't blame google specifically for my inability to read things with great focus.  I would have to say that I would blame sites such as Facebook, Stumbleupon, Lolcats/Icanhascheezburger, Armorgames, and a whole plethora of other sites.  The reason that I personally cannot focus on any particular thing upon the internet isn't because of how it is presented to me I should think, but to the wide array of other things that are available to me and upon my mind at any given time while I'm reading something on the internet.

Besides, a lack of concentration doesn't mean that someone is stupid or not.  Someone could totally have the IQ of a caveman and still have amazing focusing capabilities.  A village idiot with OCD would be a prime example.  The aforementioned would be a complete rock-smasher so far as intelligence goes, but would have an almost supernatural ability to concentrate, even to the point of it being more harm than help.

If the author is having any problems with concentrating, I think he should just man up and take the blame himself, instead of trying to put it all on a WEB-BROWSER.

Internet Response

    The internet and websites on the internet like google don't make us stupid.  Internet is more of a distraction.  The internet is a vast and unending stream of information.  It is also a quick way of gathering information.  If people have access to a quick and vast information source rather than spending hours finding information in a book, they will surf the internet for the information.  People value their time.  They probably want to spend their time doing other things than spending hours reading a book for information.  Granted, people will probably spend some of that time on social media like facebook or twitter.  They will also probably spend their time on other websites on the internet for their own personal interests. 
    The internet is a great tool for gathering information but it does have cons and pros.  It is great for information and communication.  You can access the internet from almost anywhere now where there is a computer or if you have a computer and there is a wifi signal.  The internet can even be accessed through phones and ipods.  So it is a very convenient to a lot of people and people like that.  People read more now since the internet age started.  They read more now than a couple decades ago like what Carr stated in his article.  Reading more is a great thing but the internet has made it so people will most likely only read things they are interesting in or entertained by rather than more education purposes.  Everyday the internet is used for education purposes but people will only gather the core information they need or want.  They just take pieces of that information rather than a whole or in more detail like a book would more likely have.  It is understandable why people do that.  The information on the internet is infinite and there is new information being added every second of the day.  Not one person can absorb all the knowledge so we just pick and choose the in information we want or need.  When we do search for information on the web for school or work, we might have something like facebook going on at the same time.  We end up getting distracted by facebook as we are searching for information.  This causes us to multitask so we spend more time trying to accomplish our main goal.  So, it is like a win lose situation in that we have fast easy access to information but there are also distractions that slow us from our main goal. 
   We take the internet for granted now.  It is everywhere and is in most of our everyday lives.  Having all that information at our disposal does distract us from everyday life.  We can be having a conversation with someone or be working and an email will pop up on our smartphone.  Something like that we take for granted and we might think it's important so we must check that email.  It ends up being a distraction from what we are currently doing.  Also, it might offend people around you and that's not a good thing.  The internet is great tool for us depending on how we use it.  The internet will only make us stupid if we choose to make us stupid.  If we accept a lot of false information rather than facts then we might be stupid.  It is more of a distraction than anything because it is so involved in our daily lives.  The internet may not be a distraction for everyone but it is for us to decide how we will us it.
The Carr constructs his essay has an informative style at first and then takes on a pervasive tone as he explains how he feels about what is happening. I would have to say the purpose of his essay is to alert others of the pitfall of the new technology the WEB, the current destruction of mankind. As Carr pointed out this dooms day thinking has appeared throughout history with man still moving on to new and ever more freighting technologies, but still surviving. Just because there are negative side effects does not mean it’s bad. All things are good and bad. You just have to adjust, as my response to Carr’s essay shows.
                As I read the article by Nicholas Carr I think back to the first time I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, the thought of a computer doing what the PC of today do was still unthought-of. However it was intriguing to think that a HAL might be built someday. Then today we do not think "will it be possible" but instead "when will it be possible".
                I related to Carr's sense of losing one's brain power to the computers. I have seen it in my life. When I was in grade school about 1957 and they started to teach division, I had already been doing long division in my head for over a year. I loved math and even though I learned to use a slide ruler quite early I still liked to do math in my head for fun. The problem arose when I was going to WWU in 1975 and was taking a Physics class, the first test I found out the power of calculators. Most of the class finished in less than 15 minutes, but I took the whole hour. I received an A but it took me the whole period. The solution was to get a calculator. Over the years I have come to depend on a calculator for all my math problems, to the extent that it is now hard to do simple addition and subtraction without a calculator.
                As for the reading part of my mind I think I had noticed the decline about 3 years ago when I started using the Web for all of my research. I read less books and magazines, and even though I still read printed material I normally skip over and not really read like I used to. I still cannot read a lot on the computer so I print everything out and then read the print out. The tendency to jump from site to site is just like Carr described.
                I can appreciate Carr's skepticism about the Web but have seen the alterative and I feel the benefits out way the pitfalls. I would have loved the Web when I had all those research papers to write at ETBU in 1987 and had only a typewriter to write them on, no Web search only a library and books. However I can see from returning to college that an effort to do as much work without the aid of the computers to have a foundation to build is important. This does not mean not using the computers and the Web for school work but to be sure you understand how to do the work without them first.
                Our brains are very adaptive to change. The question is will it adapt for the better or for the worse, only time can tell. If the past is any indication I believe we are in for a wonderful change.
James Burke

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Google, Making us stupid?

While reading this article I got about half way through and kept asking myself when is this going to end? Actually while reading it I was noticing that I was being distracted by the ads on the side a long with the other titles of articles for example; The FBI Wants to Read Your Tweets, this seemed more important to me then whether or not google was making me stupid. I also got distracted by a little video called Fauna: The Hidden, Beautiful World of Manatees not that I like manatees or anything but it seemed way better than reading the whole long essay at the time and then I started to think that maybe it isn't google making us stupid, but maybe it is our learning habits. It seems that today with our generation we have all been around technology, growing up and that has been our go to for everything, at least I know that it is with myself. It seems that growing up with technology made things easier for me, every time I had a research paper I would always go to google first, I feel that google isn't what we need to worry about, but rather, the future of teaching. I don't know of one time where I was sent to the library to do research in a book rather than on a computer, thats just how I was taught I guess. In this article it was mentioned by a man named Bruce Friedman that the internet has altered his mental habits, he said "a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.” 
I agree with this completely but I think that the reason this happens is because there is so many more things on the internet that you can do to occupy your time that you are interested in besides an essay. I feel like we can't blame something like google for making us stupid if that is what we were taught to use growing up, it's our learning habits that are making us stupid. We can't blame technology for making us stupid when we are the ones who created technology. Also I feel like this could be because books are starting to die in todays society, people tend to rely more on technology for answers, such as television, internet, or even mobile devices. Another point is, Internet is a persons choice, you do not have to use it or associate with it. If you feel like google is making you stupid then why would you go to google for answers or anything else. Because of my lack of focus this article took me multiple hours to read because I found other things on the computer way more interesting and a lot shorter in length. It is kinda brutal to read something so long without having any interest in it other then it is a required homework assignment...

My opinion about the internet

After I finished reading the article I started thinking more about what the message Mr. Carr is trying to put across. I agree with him about google making it easier to access information on which ever topics are on our minds at the time, whether it would be sports, music, famous people, etc. I felt that while reading the article I was being pulled away to do other things. Or to see what was on TV because as Mr. Carr put it. It is easier to do other things that we enjoy to do more than read a long article. I mean while I was reading the article I started thinking about what I might have for dinner tonight. I agree with Aaron when he said that almost all college students are starting to rely on the internet. I mean I personally have two classes that rely heavily on blackboard. I mean right now I’m writing a post for a class having to rely on my internet connection to not fail while I do this. Here is the thing though having the internet has helped us progress in this ever changing world that is technology driven. The internet gives us the ability to do research papers in the matter of weeks, where back in the 40’s for instance. It would have taken a person a couple of months to do the same amount of research and to read all the books they needed to make sure they received all the information they needed to complete the research paper. Over the course of this class we are going to forced to use the internet to find the information we need to complete the essays that we have to write. To touch on another topic Mr. Carr talked about with longer articles and books being read less and less. It is true because unless I have to read the article for homework or what I look up has to do with my homework. I wouldn’t find myself reading an article or book unless it was something I was interested in. If you think about it more, people will probably stop reading altogether at some point. With all of the apps and technology coming out that can read articles or books for you and you can just listen. It makes it easier to listen than to read the article yourself. I am happy that I read this article because Mr. Carr informed me of some topics I wouldn’t have thought about myself. Something funny to note is that before I started reading the article and writing this post. I was using google to look up information on a game that is coming out soon. It is weird how we start to think about things we do during the day that we don’t think about until we read an article like this one. I will more than likely google something later tonight or tomorrow. Thank you Mr. Carr for the article it gives me a lot more to think about while I’m surfing the web.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Death by internet

          Reading this article provided a good perspective on how much we actually depend on the internet and how dumb it is making us. While reading Carr's article about how reading on the internet has proven difficult in the sense that people are easily distracted, I found myself starting to get distracted merely by the advertisements on the side of the page. The layout of the webpage alone is drawing me away from the article that was posted on their website. Hyperlinks try to lure me to videos or other articles that they think I would be interested in. I almost had to cover one side of the laptop so that I would not be distracted by the pictures and big bold letters on the right side of the article. I'm pretty sure that nearly everyone that is going to college in the U.S. and even all around the world are almost required to use the internet, whether it's for studying or just to be able to contact their teacher to ask a simple question. The scary part about the internet as a whole is that in the end it may end up controlling us or even just used to keep us in check. I am not talking about Skynet coming online or anything like that, it just feels like whenever I go online I'm being shown what the computer wants me to see or what it thinks I want to see and recently I have figured out that it is doing exactly that. According to Sergey Brin and Larry Page, they are trying to create an artificial intelligence on a large scale. Just from hearing that, it scares me to think that there may be an artificial intelligence smarter than me showing me what I want to see. If this is the case then I will never be able to have my own perspective on things without a computer telling me what my perspective is.
          The Internet or even search engines are not all that bad. Carr brings up good points about how helpful they can be when trying to find good information when writing or studying. This simple technology is able to bring us a much simpler way of finding out information from world news, or to finding out what your friends are doing that night. Carr's article is not about swaying someone to one side of this argument or the other, he merely wants to bring to light what is happening with the internet and how it may affect us. He even uses earlier works of philosophers like Plato and Humanist Squarciafico to show that history repeats itself and that we will always have worries when it comes to the advancement of technology and the sharing of information. The best part about this writing is that he intends to inform us using the perspectives and writings of others so that we can have a better picture to make up our own mind. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reading Response 1: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"

I've decided that all future posts will be accompanied by awful clipart.
For your first homework assignment we will be reading Nicholas Carr's popular essay "Is Google Making Us Stupid?". As you read, make sure that you read closely and note the way in which Carr is constructing his points. Does this piece feel argumentative? Or merely informative? What is he trying to argue/inform, and how does he do it? What is his purpose in writing the essay?

Think also about where Carr's essay is published. What type of place is The Atlantic? How would we classify Carr's writing in a certain type of genre? Would it qualify as academic writing, journalism, fiction? Are there certain expectations that the audience of this particular magazine would have that Carr is playing into?

Your job in writing a response to the reading will be relatively simple. Write a 500-word post on the blog that engages directly with Carr's essay - you can agree with him, disagree with him, or even say that the issue isn't actually as important as he's making it out to be. The most important thing to focus on while writing, however, is developing a logic-driven and well-supported claim about the issue at hand.

This post is due by 9:45 AM, Tuesday, January 31st.

P.S. Don't forget that a portion of your participation grade for the course is derived from your interaction with other students' writing on the blog. Try to read a few of your classmates' posts, and write a comment in response to what they are saying!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Greetings from the Blog-o-sphere

Welcome to our class blog. As contributors to this blog, I hope that you will all not only use this place as somewhere to post your writing assignments throughout the semester, but also as a place where you can feel free to publish relevant writing of your own. Please, no Robocop Twilight fan-fiction. However, any academic discussion of what Twilight's popularity means about American culture is welcome. Also, if you would like to publish your longer essays on this blog, they would be entirely appropriate. Since this blog is public, any writing you publish here will be open for the world's consumption.

You might have noticed that above I used a text effect called "strikethrough" which is fairly common in blogs. You may also notice that I have posted a picture to the right. While you are certainly welcome to post more traditional, text-only posts, I also wanted to make it known that the use of different types of communication in your posts is also possible. While they shouldn't be relied on too heavily (your entire argument can't be constructed with an image, as we want to cultivate writing skills) the use of these web authoring tools can certainly supplement your writing well.

Most importantly, though, is that this blog is a place for the class to interact. I am a big proponent of the idea that you as students can teach each other just as much as I can teach you, so I have decided that a portion of your participation grade will be based upon interacting with other students' posts using the blog's comment function. Of course, this conversation should be considerate, so please try to keep all commenting in the realm of constructive criticism. This doesn't mean that your comments need to be devoid of emotion or opinion - that type of feedback is whole-heartedly encouraged - merely that you should keep in mind that your comments are a type of written rhetoric, and derogatory or spiteful criticisms are not an effective way to voice your opinions. If you disagree with someone, respect them and respect yourself by phrasing your commentary in an insightful, logically-driven, and kind way.

Enjoy! I am looking forward to an insightful and exciting semester with you all.