The ‘Fourth’ Media Making Us Smarter – Or Dumber

2317 words - 9 pages

The 'Fourth' Media Making Us Smarter - or DumberThe 'Fourth' Media Making Us Smarter - or DumberRico IreneoMIT International SchoolGrade 10ADate of Submission: May 7, 2012AbstractThis article will examine whether the fourth media - the Internet, changes the way we think in a positive or negative way. Researchers and analysts argue that the excessive use of Internet is making us dumber, lazier and that the Internet itself is dehumanizing us. Contrary to these arguments, others claim that, in fact, Internet is helping us and give efficiency to our works, which accelerates mental capabilities.The 'Fourth' Media Making Us DumberSince the start of the Second Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800s, the world was bombarded by the modernization of technology. Cars, planes and ships developed in the field of transportation. The invention of telegraphs and telephones shocked and revolutionized the world of communication. Without fail, some people who lived through turbulence caused by the introduction of these new technologies questioned the impact of these innovations on society. In a similar vein, in our times, some ask if we are being dehumanized by our iPhones, GPS systems, and MP3s. Has a new religion come about with artificial intelligence at its center? There has been much debate about the computer, and specifically about the effects of the Internet on cognition and the human brain.Many respected writers and thinkers have contributed to this debate, and an excess of articles and books have been published lately arguing both sides of the issue. While many writers claim that the Internet has a negative, damaging effect on the brain and cognition, others see the benefits of technology in helping us achieve the previously unachievable and freeing us from many time-consuming activities.This assessment is timely, as the Google Generation-a term coined for those born after 1993-is now starting college, and it is important to understand how computers have affected their learning, and how teaching techniques should be adapted to meet their needs. (Thornton 2010). Even though it is an important topic, there is not space in this article to consider the claims that the Internet has a dehumanizing effect on people and their relationships. This article thus reviews both sides of the important debate concerning the positive and negative aspects of the Internet on cognition.Nicholas Carr, a past editor of Harvard Business Review and a writer on business, culture, and technology, grappled with this question in his article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (2008). He later expanded his thesis in a book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Carr claims that the Internet is damaging our brains, robbing us of our memories and deepest thoughts, fragmenting our attention, and destroying our normal introspective reading by turning it into a "skimming" activity (2008). He cites Maryanne Wolf, a cognitive neuroscientist, to back up his assertions, and argues...

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