Is Google Making Us Stupid? and Introduction to Electracy

I was sprinting down the library stairs to my saving grace, the computer help desk. My laptop’s Internet had gone down, again, and I was (admittedly) overreacting about how much I need it back right at THAT moment. It is easy to list off all of the reasons why we need the Internet, but have we ever considered the disadvantages of using it? That’s the question I thought of while reading the article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr.

I actually read a portion of this article for a Mass Communications course I took last semester, and agreed with Carr even then. The Internet is a wonderful thing, but I notice my memory and attention span shortening by the day which I count as definite disadvantages.

One portion of Carr’s article that struck me was when he was describing Google and quoting its creators when they said, “the company has declared that its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” And, as I said in my headline, I am a college student so I can’t deny appreciating Google. It definitely shows a plus side to the Internet, which is the fact that it is full of information, both beneficial and senseless, and that we can sort through it to read and see what we need or want from it.

I believe the main point from “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” is that the Internet like everything in life is meant for use in moderation, which I think is what we all need to keep in mind. Otherwise, you might start feeling the effects of overuse like Carr has claimed to be experiencing.

The second piece of writing we read for class today was Introduction to Electracy” by Ulmer. It was more difficult for me to read and comprehend, but what I understood from the writing is that electracy is a new form of communication, which mainly involves technology and science. Ulmer says, “Electracy similarly is being invented, not to replace religion and science (orality and literacy), but to supplement them with a third dimension of thought, practice, and identity.” He also mentions late in the text that he thinks that electracy needs to be taught in elementary schools along with core subjects such as math, science, and english. I agree with this point, because the world is starting to turn to technology for its way of researching, entertainment, and communication; and if it keeps going further down this path then everyone needs to know how to use it in an efficient and safe way. After reading this piece of writing, I decided to research more about Ulmer and electracy (by using Google…who would have guessed) and stumbled upon a video. It’s actually Ulmer himself discussing electracy, especially relating to the Apparatus Theory. It is long, but it did help me understand the writing quite a bit more. Here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii_ZKMI6teA

Discussion Questions:

1) Do you think that there will be a time when everything (intellectual and not) will be on the web? Job applications, entertainment (television shows and movies), etc. already are. If so, when?

2) Have we ever truly considered all the disadvantages of using the Internet so much?

3) Is there another way of explaining what Ulmer said about electracy? Or is there another example of what he is describing?

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