Last Updated 31 Jan 2023

The Impacts of Technology on Our Lives and Cognition in Is Google Making Us Stupid by Nicholas Carr and The Multitasking Generation by Claudia Wallis

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In the articles "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr and "The Multitasking Generation" by Claudia Wallis, the authors discuss the impacts of technology on our lives, mainly on our cognition. Carr focuses on the alterations of Internet on our brain and zooms in on the observable effects. Wallis discusses multitasking of gadgets, mainly zooming in on its harmful impacts on social life. She provides more examples concerning the negative effects of gadget multitasking, while Carr informs the reader that technology changes our cognition. Although both authors agree that technologies alter the way we process information, I relate closer to Claudia Wallis' analysis and believe that she delivers her point in a very strong manner, despite Nicholas Carr's article being more eye-opening.

In his essay "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" Nicholas Carr argues that the Internet is altering the way we think and process information, especially with regards to reading and concentrating. Internet is the universal medium that made research easy and accessible. However, it alters our mental habits, emerges new forms of reading, changes writing style (as in Friedrich Nietzsche's case), scatters our attention, reduces our originality, and makes us exceedingly dependable on it.

Technologies play an important role in shaping our brain, therefore affecting how it works. "We inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies" (Carr 5). Through insider's perspective, Nicholas Carr informs his readers that people adapted their minds to the Internet. We put efficiency as a priority and began to lose the ability to be engaged in deep thinking. Carr discusses technology and its effect on life using personal examples, anecdotes, examples of other people, other articles, and other studies.

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Internet alters our cognition making us dependent on it. "It's becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV" (Carr 6). It collects behavioral data and controls how people find information, all in desires of eventually creating an artificial intelligence with access to all the information in the world. Compared to the new emerging technologies, "The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive" (Carr 8).

In the essay "The Multitasking Generation" Claudia Wallis talks about Gen M-the generation of gadget multitasking. She stresses that we replace physical side-to-side and eye-to-eye multitasking, such as walking and having a conversation, with gadget multitasking. We pack more media exposure in a certain period of time than ever before. However, she makes it clear that gadget multitasking is actually impossible, and while we think that we are capable of doing it and staying productive- we are wrong.

Gadget multitasking increases the chance of errors, is twice as time consuming, decreases efficiency, reduces deep pursuing of a topic, and causes "rapid toggling among tasks rather that simultaneous processing" (Wallis 4) in our brain. This type of multitasking affects our brain, messing with sequential processing. Wallis also mentions that because of constant exposure to gadgets, the children's brain doesn't get the rest it needs to recover. "Habitual multitasking may condition their brain to an overexcited state, making it difficult to focus even when they want to" (5).

Technology and internet makes us enter a different psychological dimension that allows us to avoid the consequences that would occur in "real" life and explore different personalities. It's difficult "for parents to penetrate the child's universe" (Wallis 2) when multitasking of gadgets became a routine. It's an addiction that affects social lives and "leaves little timefor old-fashioned socializing and family meals" (Wallis 7). Although Claudia Wallis acknowledges that today's use of gadgets has its benefits, such as ability to find and manipulate information very quickly, she provides a lot of data which demonstrates the negative effects of it.

Claudia Wallis and Nicholas Carr both use research and studies throughout their essays to back up their points. Both authors use numerous examples, although Claudia Wallis relies heavily on professors from Duke University, MIT, University of Wisconsin, Stanford University, and University of Washington. Nicholas Carr writes his essay from first person point of view and uses personal anecdotes, making it personal. Both articles describe how technology became a mundane part of our life, an addiction that causes our lives to be scheduled.

Both articles state that t distorts our attention, affects our concentration, our depth of thought, and our writing. However, both authors also agree on the beneficial aspects of technology, mainly the ability to process and access so much information. Nonetheless, Nicholas Carr is less negative in his essay. Although he states that we are becoming more and more associated and altered by machinery, he explains it as an inevitable part of development. The two essays are also intended for different audiences. "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" is aimed more at adults that use Internet, while "The Multitasking Generation" is targeted at teenagers and the M- Generation.

Out of the two articles, I relate closer to Claudia Wallis' "The Multitasking Generation," perhaps because I am the M-Generation. Without realizing it, people my age go about our day, performing many tasks simultaneously, without having a second to stop and rest. Wallis is right in saying that we are constantly exposed to numerous gadgets, without any break. Our brain is constantly processing immense amounts of information and is forced to jump from one task to another without a necessary rest. When I thought about it, I realized that a very small amount of time during my day is spent without electronic devices. I am constantly on my computer doing a few things at the same time, on my phone, and/or watching TV.

Even when I fall asleep, I listen to audiobooks, leaving very little time to rest up and regenerate from the sucking in of the gadgets. After reflecting back, I realized that my entire day is surrounded by multitasking of gadgets, even when I'm not conscious about it, and that is a scary thought. An interesting point, however, that I withdrew from Wallis' article is that professors are adjusting to our methods and are using power points, media, and assign shorter readings indeed. I never thought of this, but professors have the ability to compare the different generations they've taught and can indeed make interesting observations. It's unusual to think that years ago people were learning in completely different ways, and the fact that professors adjust their teaching styles is another proof of technology impacting our lives.

In "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and "The Multitasking Generation" Nicholas Carr and Claudia Wallis provide strong points of view about how technology changes us and affects our social dynamic. While both articles refer to negative connotations concerning the influence of technology, Claudia Wallis appears better to the audience and provides impressive analysis on how gadget multitasking affects us. I found her article to be more relatable and agreeable with. Both authors agree that technologies affect our concentration and the way we process information, but Nicholas Carr focuses on how the technologies alter our brain and what the consequences of that are, while Claudia Wallis provides evidence to prove that multitasking of gadgets is impossible and causes a lot of damage. She goes on to say that connection through the internet causes isolation in social life, which is a main concern.

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The Impacts of Technology on Our Lives and Cognition in Is Google Making Us Stupid by Nicholas Carr and The Multitasking Generation by Claudia Wallis. (2023, Jan 19). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/the-impacts-of-technology-on-our-lives-and-cognition-in-is-google-making-us-stupid-by-nicholas-carr-and-the-multitasking-generation-by-claudia-wallis/

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