Will technology make us smarter – American writer Nicholas Carr has published several books and articles on technology, business, and culture. His ideas about information technology, his area of expertise, have never been fully appreciated by the industry. He has gotten into trouble even with big companies like Microsoft, Intel and Hewlett-Packard.
Carr became famous in 2003 for his article “It Doesn’t Matter,” in which he argued that the strategic importance of information technology in business has diminished as it has become familiar, standardized, and cheaper. In 2004 and 2005, he published other even more controversial texts in which he claimed that companies would buy information technology as a service provided by external providers in the future.
But it was in 2008 when Carr wrote one of the most controversial phrases of his career in an article: “Is Google making us stupider?” He argued that the Internet could have detrimental effects on thinking, damaging the ability to concentrate and contemplate. From that moment, he became one of the leading critics of the Internet.
A decade later, the famous writer considers that he predicted many things that happen on the Internet today. When he wrote his bestseller, he explained the consequences of the Internet on our ability to concentrate, remember and process information. Still, despite being a bestseller, few took it seriously. Many called it “exaggerated”, and the subject was no longer discussed.
Will technology make us smarter Before and after the Internet
For Carr, the Internet would mark a before and after, and it did. There are currently many studies and research that support what he said at the time. The detrimental effects of technology on our mental abilities are even more significant than the writer predicted.
After ten years, Carr is still confident in his intellect. He says that when people are close to their mobile phones, their ability to solve problems, concentrate and even have profound conversations decreases. And it is that we forget about what surrounds us. We only focus on what is happening on the phone. It offers us so much information that even when we don’t use it or have it turned off, we think about it.
Regarding the repercussions that the constant use of these electronic devices could have, he says that by stealing our attention, we think more poorly about other things. If the human brain does not practice thinking much, it adapts until it reaches a point where it gets used to not doing it.
Will technology make us smarter Too much information for one brain
As we all tell, the Internet is a convenient tool. Globalization has made us communicate with those who are far away, but it also distances us from those who are close. The information provided by the Internet is so much that it weakens our ability to pay attention.
The new generations are not like the old ones, and not in the wrong way, but they consume so much information that they know about many things but not so much about each of them. They don’t delve into the issues. It is very superficial knowledge. There is a lot of information available.
For Carr, the constant notifications, alerts, sounds, multimedia content and, in general, all technology interrupts and distracts us constantly. That causes us to lose our ability to engage in the higher forms of thought available to us as human beings.
We are more aware, but we do nothing about it
The only “good” thing? Technology is changing how we think, making it much more difficult for us to concentrate. We are becoming more aware of the time we spend on social networks and consuming information on the Internet. By 2010 nobody was aware of it. It was another time we enjoyed the Internet because we didn’t know how much damage it would do us or that it would be so immense.
But like all good things, there are always bad things. The writer says that the most challenging thing is that we have not yet done anything to change our behaviour, and that is crucial. “We complain about the effects of the internet and social media, but we find it very difficult to reduce our dependency,” he says.
Will technology make us smarter Does Google make us stupider?
Google is a tool that provides us with too much information in a few seconds. That helps us be more intelligent, investigate more and faster, and find exactly what we are looking for at a given moment. However, Carr believes that in the long run, Google and other similar tools make us more dependent on them, so we stop there, don’t look any further, and don’t want a second opinion. That limits our ability to dig deeper.
Various studies have concluded that digital natives have a lower IQ than their parents. The writer agrees with that. However, he says that, as in 2010, we have to wait to draw more conclusions.
Since the Internet came along, we all thought it would help us become more brilliant, but studies show otherwise. We are going in another direction. We are much more limited than before by technology.
Social media is emotional and exaggerated
Most of our time on the Internet is spent on social networks. Due to their ease and versatility, we even consume information through them. The author reveals that social networks were not designed for that but to entertain us.
When seeking to inform ourselves through social networks, we make a mistake, and we are left only with the first thing we read, with the headlines and news fragments, which are mostly made to generate a click or a visit. Therefore they are not entirely reliable.
Thanks to social networks, we live in a more polarized society. With its arrival, what has happened is that big technology companies have controlled the supply of information. We are consuming precisely what they want us to finish. They know exactly what to give us to keep us there.
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