Is Google Making Us Stupid?, by Nicholas Carr

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The following essay will discuss how the ideas in “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr, is expressed in the futuristic novel Feed, by M.T Anderson.

The first of the many ideas conveyed in Carr’s article is that the brain is malleable like plastic. To explain, the professor of Neuroscience, James Olds, says that “nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones” (Carr 4). This means that the human brain changes the way it functions according to the information manipulated by neurons. In the novel Feed, brain malleability is involved in the climax of the story. The feed works as a computer chip being directly inserted into a person’s brain. The climax of the story occurs when Titus and his group of friends get their brain chips hack. Before the attack, Violet, one of the main characters, never questions the society she lives in. However, after her brain chip is affected, her thoughts and brain functions rewired and from then, she starts to reflect on society. Given the climax of the story, the novel illustrates how even a brain chip cannot stop the natural malleability property of the human brain.

Moreover, Carr’s article mentions that by using technology of any kind, users tend to embody the characteristics stimulated by that technology. He says that given that the Internet processes information almost immediately, users will tend to value immediacy. To explain, Carr gives the example of a friend of his named Scott Karp who was a literary major on college and who used to be an avid book reader. However, since the arrival of the Internet, Karp skim articles online because he could no longer read as much as he used too. He cannot pay attention and absorb long texts ever since he read online articles. Internet...

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...feeds, a virtual shopping assistant suggests shops and items related to the user’s previous purchases. Just like Google, the assistants attempt to give the shoppers what want. Pop-up ads are also quite common. As an example, when Titus is sad in one part of a novel, a pop-up ad appears on his feed suggesting antidepressant medication, without him wanting to purchase any medication. This bombardment of advertisements targeting consumers is similar to the bombardment of information from Google attempting to find the best results for you.

In summary, both the article and the novel critique the public’s reliance on technology. This topic is relevant today because Feed because it may be how frightening the future society may look like.

Works Cited

Anderson, M.T. Feed. Candlewick Press, 2002.

Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" the Atlantic (2008).
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