The Internet is Altering the Human MindThearticle “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” written by Nicholas Carr introduces theidea that the Internet is ultimately corrupting the human mind. In thecontemporary world, technological advances are quickly expanding which isleading to the replacement of conventional activities. These changes tend toalter the human mind in such a way that the way of doing things is differentcompared to the times before the introduction of technology. The internet as awhole is causing the human mind to transform itself entirely, individual’sbehavior and manner of doing things being altered, and people questioning ifthe theory of scientific management, also known as Taylorism.ThroughoutNicholas Carr’s writing, there are many examples of people experiencingsymptoms of their mind changing entirely. Carr refers to himself whenintroducing this idea as he writes, “Over the past few years I’ve had anuncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with mybrain.
” (735). Soon after this reference, Carr begins to justify why hebelieves he feels as if his mind is changing. The proposition suggested isessentially informing readers that the many years humans have depended ontechnology is taking a toll on how humans function. The human mind is not ableto comprehend lengthy books, or articles longer than a few pages. Carr backs upthis claim with his own experiences, as well as a quote from Bruce Friedman; “Inow have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish articleon the web or in print.” (737).
Bruce Friedman also explains how he hasexperienced a change in his mental habits due to relying on the Internet. Afive-year-long study done by the University College London included a closeexamination of the time students spent on a web-page that included an articleand concluded that students spent a short amount of time on the web-page,suggesting that students were “skimming” rather than reading the work. “But arecently published study of online research habits, conducted by scholars fromUniversity College London,” Carr writes “suggests that we may well be in themidst of a sea change in the way we read and think.
” (738).Theway humans behave in the present world is yet another claim Carr supportsthroughout his article. Humans became dependent on technology as early as whenthe mechanical clock was invented. While this device is not as complex astoday’s technology, the creation of the clock was just the beginning of thehuman mind being unable to form independent perceptions. Carr refers to LewisMumford as he continues on about the mechanical clock: “The “abstract frameworkof divided time” became “the point of reference for both action and thought”.”(741). Additionally, Carr writes “In deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep,to rise, we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock.”(741).
The mechanical clock has created the current social construct for humanbeings. What is considered a normal time to do tasks throughout life revolvesaround the creation of the clock; which has formed what has become normal overtime. The human mind is so malleable, that it has become performing similarlyto how computers operate.
FrederickWinslow Taylor was the young man who created the theory called Taylorism. Carruses Taylorism as a prime example of how the Internet is affecting the humanbrain. This theory began when Taylor began an experiment in the Midvale Steelplant, which consisted of a stopwatch and dedication. Taylor approached a groupof factory workers and studied each task they completed all while timing them.Then, Taylor gave each worker an algorithm to follow precisely; he claimed thatthis way of doing their job would work better. Carr explains the purpose ofTaylor’s study in the following quote: “Once his system was applied to all actsof manual labor, Taylor assure his followers, it would bring about arestructuring not only of industry but of society, creating a utopia of perfectefficiency.” (744).
Taylorism is still present today and is beginning tojustify just how the Internet is altering humans. Algorithms are used within apart of the Internet called Google to perfectly aid their users’ needs. Carrproves that using the search engine Google is a perfect example of Taylorism,just used in a different aspect of humans. Carr explains, “What Taylor did forthe work of the hand, Google is doing for work of the mind.” (744). Similar tohow Taylor approached the workers, Google is doing the same for its users. Carrrefers to an interview with one of the founders of Google, Sergey Brin, “In a2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’sinformation directly attached to your brain, you’d be better off.
“.” (745).What Brin said is very similar to Taylor’s attitude during his study, and it isconcerning. Carr expresses his feelings toward Brin’s remark here: “Still,their easy assumption that we’d all “be better be” if our brains were supplemented,or even replaced, by an artificial intelligence is unsettling.
” (746).Insummary, as proved in Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”,the Internet has changed how humans function altogether. The human mind hasbecome so dependent on quick information that their minds have changeddrastically, resulting in being unable to focus on large writings. Anotherclaim brought upon the article is that people are not able to conceive theirown perceptions due to many of technological advances.
Lastly, the idea thatTaylorism could be a possible theory on how the human mind is changing. Carr’sarticle shows just how the Internet is beginning to diminish human’s senses andway of life.