Reading back over what I’ve written, I’d like to point out that my use of “we” may not necessarily refer to everyone in the class, but to the general population of people who are impacted by the topics discussed in the articles. Also, I’ll apologize for tipping more into my own philosophy than the articles themselves.
The article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr seems to be very interested in the ways human cognitive processes have evolved since the creation of the computer and the internet. A major point that stood out to me came from his metaphor: “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” In class, we’ve discussed how new technologies give us new opportunities, but something is always lost; this metaphor captures this in a way. Once upon a time, we could expect most people to be really knowledgeable in one or two fields; now, everybody knows everything, but it’s all surface level knowledge.
The internet gives us access to all kinds of information, but it’s all in snippets; at best, the articles we happen across provide us with base-level information (example: an introductory course for a larger field of study). This is simply added to the point that Carr makes, we tend not to read thoroughly; we skim. Because of this, I feel like it’s easy to believe we know everything when we’re really quite ignorant.
Like Turkle states in her article, “How Computers Change the Way We Think,” we don’t know how things work but we know how to make things work. Continuing with Carr’s water metaphor, we can keep on skimming over the top, we’ll never know how deep the water beneath us is; we’ll never know what we don’t know. All that matters to us is what we can see.
I find it interesting (and very fitting) that Carr included a discussion about Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially in a culture where we are already so heavily tethered to our technology (I halfway considered taking a tally of how many times I checked my phone while reading this article); I very much agree that it’s “unsettling” to think that we might “be better off” with AI supplements. It’s definitely an idea that, if it were put into practice, would contain many pros and cons; it would certainly make school easier. Though, I feel like the question should be posed, if everybody already knows everything that exists in the world, what would we do with that? How could the information be applied if everybody already knows it? From an educational standpoint, would there be anything left to learn? Would classes become less about the quadratic formula and more about how to act like a human?