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The Human Mind On Click At A Time

957 words - 4 pages

The technology of today is driving upcoming generations. Simply having a computer, cell phone, or tablet, anyone and everyone can be connected. However, can this powerful, yet simple, creation of technology have a drastic effect on how the upcoming generations operate? The entire world is becoming obsessed with technology and the use of the internet. Day to day we use something that relates to the Internet, whether it is Email, Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook or blogging. We are becoming reliant on the internet and allowing it to become an integral part of our lives. This is becoming a great debate for today’s generation and the generations to follow.
Nicholas Carr and Clay Shirky argue over the benefits and dangers of digital technology. Nicholas Carr, in his book The Shadows, feels that this overflow of access is causing the upcoming generations to become dehumanized, taking away the very thing that separates humans from machines Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus, on the other hand, feels that this is a great move in the right direction to make us a smarter generation by providing more access to more information.
According to Nicholas Carr, digitally sponsored multitasking is causing this generation’s brain to decay or at least modify them beyond modern recognition. Carr says in Chapter One that, “the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants and needs to take in and dole out information in short, disjointed, often overlapping bursts—the faster the better” (Carr 10). Carr is worried that the interesting of information we have access to, along with the notion of multitasking and skimming will tend to detrimental effects as well. He says that these aspects will result in “a reversal of early trajectory of civilization: we are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gathers in the electronic data forest” (138). Carr cites numerous neurocognitive studies and pin points the effects of our “chronic overactivity” with technology as a threat not only to our ability to come up with our own reasoning but “to our integrity as human beings” (214).
Shirky, however, highlights the broader social benefits of technology. For example, he finds interest in how time invested in online engagement with others creates greater opportunities for social good than the consumption of media such as television or reading. “What makes the current age remarkable is that we cannot treat free time as a general social asset that can be harnessed for large, communally created projects, rather than as a set of individual minutes to be whiled away one person at a time” (Shirky 10). The time spent in the interactive digital environments “provides an opportunity to create new cultures of sharing, and only in the hands of these cultures will our ability to share become as valuable as it can be” (143).
Shirky highlights the global participation and variation allowed by...

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