Change. I agree with Carr that they way we think is changing. Our world is different and digital media is a driving force that we can either blame or thank for the new habits and lifestyle changes that emerge with technological advancements, particularly the Internet.
The Internet is a both an interesting and challenging medium in that it is a one-stop spot for entertainment, news, and education, which are all consolidated within one small computer screen. A catchy pop-up advertisement for Hautelook or a flashing “one-day sale” banner can instantly lead a person from academic research to online shopping with the click of a button. Yes, I am a victim. At times, I do feel that the Internet has stitched my brain into a “crazy quilt of Internet media,” as I bounce from browser to browser with everything from research databases to Facebook to fashion blogs.
However, I struggle to accept Carr’s theory that our minds are becoming “machinelike” and that the human intelligence is being replaced with artificial intelligence. How is the Internet changing society? This is the defining question of Carr’s article, yet there seems to be a major hole in his argument. Carr believes that the Internet feeds people spurts of information that come in all sorts of forms ranging from articles to pop-up advertisements, leaving little room for interpretation and contemplation that comes with deep reading: “In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation.” Carr goes on to say, “Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed.”
Is it fair to say the Internet is producing a passive generation? Have we become a group of people content with being spoon fed information? The Internet may have changed the way we think or challenge information. Could it be a change for the better? We certainly are not a silent generation. In fact, the Internet has produced a vocal group of media users and opened new avenues for Internet-goers to argue, comment, and produce their own web content. Essentially, the Internet is opening new doors for creativity and inspiring its users rather than flattening their intelligence. This leads me to believe the Internet is not a means to replace our intelligence but rather, supplement it.
We will sink or swim “in the midst of a sea of change in the way we read and think?” We have a responsibility. We are held accountable to become literate Internet users as Ulmer’s concept of “Electracy” suggests. The rise of the Internet requires a new skill set that we must apply to the Internet content we encounter; it cannot be done for us. Just as literacy is required to maximize our use of print materials, it is possible and necessary to become literate Internet users to hold on and keep up with our ever-changing technological world.