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Comparisonbetween Carr and Pinker on the Effects of Digital Technology

Accordingto Nicholas Carr, the use of the Internet has contributed to theerosion of the ability to think to its users. Steven Pinker, on theother hand, holds that the use of the Internet and the digitalelectronic media has enhanced the people’s ability to think. Headds that the addiction to web information adds experience to thebrain hence the users become smarter in their thoughts. Therefore,the Internet users seem to benefit from the information they get fromthere but at the same time acquiring some behaviors that underminetheir brain powers of developing thoughts. The question is “who hasa stronger argument on the effects of digital technology?”

NicholasCarr published an essay in TheAtlanticin 2008witha heading “Is Google Making Us Stupid.” His thesis was arguingthat the Internet has some benefits but, at the same time it does usharm. The Internet has declined reader’s ability to contemplate onlengthy stories. Carr confirms that nowadays he cannot concentrate onlong texts he reads a few pages of a book and gets tired. The timespent in reading books and journals in the library when doingresearch has now been cut off by Google. Since now we usually dependon the Net in doing researches within short periods, I now understandwhy we cannot concentrate on lengthy texts that require ample time.It is evident that, Google has made its users lazy in reading longstories and, therefore, we do not get enough information, and thus,we become stupid to some extent (Carr 375).

TheInternet has become a worldwide medium of accessing lots ofinformation. Many people spend their time in the Internet clickingon certain links, reading them, chatting with friends via e-mail andsocial networks and at the same time listening to music. When thesame people are reading textbooks they are fond of skimminginformation but not actual reading. Therefore, their ability to thinkis reduced because they do not critically read web information and,the multitasking while reading disengages their ability toconcentrate without distractions (Carr 376).

Thebehavior of Internet users of reading the shortcuts that crawl in andout of websites have contributed to laziness in reading long texts.The advertisements and the shortcuts in magazines are usually notgrammatically correct thus reducing the readers’ ability to developgrammatically correct writings. Furthermore, readers become lessefficient in understanding long texts. Carr argues that skimming theinformation on the Net reduces the capability of human minds inreading long texts. While skimming texts either on the web or from abook one usually does not fully understand those texts. Internetusers, therefore, experience hard times when reading books for theirresearch since they apply their skimming methods which usually do notwork when details are needed (Carr 378).

Styleanalysis of the essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid” by NicholasCarr

NicholasCarr expresses his attitude towards Google related information whichin his own view seems to affect the modern way of thinking. The titleof the essay directly relates to the essay context, that is, theeffects of digital technology including Google in the human way ofthinking. The laziness in reading long texts arises from the use ofthe Internet for quite a long time as Carr and his friends like BruceFriedman explains in their experiences. These experiences directlyrelates to the title of the essay since they all argue about how onecan limit his/her understanding of information through the use of theInternet.

Theessay is a persuasive writing because Carr is trying to prove thatthere are negative effects of using the Internet in reading. Hesupports his facts through illustrating on the current issues in theelectronic media like the shortcuts of advertisement on television.The formality of the writing is well structured as in the firstparagraph the author explains some details of the movie about braincontrol by supercomputers, which is targeted at arousing the interestof the reader to read the whole essay. To make readers reflect theirexperiences, Carr has further explained his and his friends’experiences on reading because of using the Net. The essay is wellunderstood due to the formality in discussion of the main issues.

Thestyle analysis of Carr’s essay is effective because there is arepresentation of mood and attitude of the author by statements suchas the title “Is Google Making Us Stupid” (Carr 376). The titledeserves the explanations and arguments made in the essay.

Steven Pinker is the author of the article “How the Mind Works”published in 2009. New forms of media, such as, the newspapers,television and print media consideration as hazards to the people’smoral behaviors and their brainpower does not satisfy Pinker’spoint of view. However, Pinker argues that the digital media willenhance people’s thoughts and keep them always smart. Pinkeremphasizes on the issue of neuroplasticity of the human brain wherethey will adapt to the new environment. Human minds will adopt thedigital technology but, cannot be transformed, that is, thebrainpower will not get altered. Pinker’s argument that thetechnology increases the brainpower of the users rather thandeclining it is supported by the fact that, the level of I.Q amongpeople rose continuously during the television and radios age (Pinker385).

Today,the quality of science has improved due to the introduction ofe-mails and PowerPoint in teaching and learning. Electronic media,therefore, have proved to increase intelligence in people’s mindsas opposed to Nicholas Carr arguments. Experiences from using theelectronic media adjust people’s minds and make them less perfectthinkers (Pinker 386).

Styleanalysis of the article written by Pinker of the debate over massmedia

Pinkerhas organized his writing in a chronological order where there isnumbering of factual statements and arguments. He starts with theintroduction of televisions and radios during earlier periods andfinalizes with the computer age during the introduction of electronicmedia like Google and PowerPoint. The author tries to explain how themind works and at the same time strengthening his point of view whichmakes the writing becomes a persuasive one. The author has exercisedformality in his essay, since the details are presented in a way thatthe reader gets involved in his arguments. Pinker’s points on theissue of moral panics arising from the use of the electronic mediaclearly targets the reader to consider that detail in his or hersituation. Furthermore, his emphasis on the positive impact of theelectronic media on people’s minds is brought out when he gives thedetail on how the level of I.Q. rose during the television and radiosera (Pinker 385).

Thestyle of analysis used in Carr’s essay is more effective than thatof Pinker. In Carr’s writing, the title “Is Google Making UsStupid,” gives an overview of what is discussed in the writing.Pinker has not provided a title for his article making it hard forreaders to suggest what is discussed in the article.


Carr,Nicholas. IsGoogle Making us Stupid?, NewYork: Wiley, 2008, Print.

Pinker,Steven. Howthe Mind Works.London: Penguin Books, 2009. Print