In this weeks reading, Nicolas Carr’s article offers an interesting position on the relationship between internet and the mind. He argues that due to the influence of Google on the web and search engine techniques that stream users through multiple links and information, it has become more difficult to become a ‘deep’ reader in the sense that existed in the past. WIth books and printed items in the past, a reader would become far more immersed in the subject than what occurs over the internet today. When reading on the internet, the user is bombarded by continuous advertisements, information from other websites, and the posts are generally shorter and more technical. I believe that Carr is correct in arguing, using the previous examples of Socrates and Nietzsche whom discussed the human mind and its relation to changing forms of communication in relation to the changes in their period. The examples allow the reader to link their own experience with the internet and I know personally, when I surf the web my concentration level on any particular topic is far less than if I were to pick a book.
The question is whether this is detrimental to society or whether it is an opportunity? As Carr points out, the wealth of knowledge harnessed and open to the public is a major benefit, however Carr on the other hand argues that this amount of information makes it difficult for individuals to really get involved in any particular topic. Carr quotes Foreman stating that “we risk turning into “pancake people””, the idea that basically, we will have a vast area of awareness, but out depth of knowledge of subjects will not go deeper than the thickness of a pancake. I agree that this is a common occurrence amongst the general populace, as the internet may be used more as a tool of pleasure than productivity. However, for those who use the internet in their line of work for research and information gathering, there has never been a more opportunistic time for any individual to really dive into a subject matter to the extent existent on the internet. The concept that the mind is compared to a mechanical machine is bothering and this assumption leaves out creativity, which may sometimes lead to a much more productive answer than a systematical process that is perceived as the best method. Overall, Carr points out an interesting problem with the internet and I happen to agree within reason that individuals thought processes are strongly affected by the way information is presented over the internet. With all major paradigm shifts in history, we could expect nothing less than a fundamental change in the way we live our lives.