RhetoricAnalysis of Nicholas Carr’s Article
Thecontinuous advancement of technology has made it easier for people tointeract, work, trade, communicate, and travel. However, theextensive innovations have created an element of dependence onpeople. In the article IsGoogle Making Us Stupid?Nicholas Carr informs the reader on the dangers of relying on theinternet through the utilization of symbols, anecdotes, pathos orappealing to people’s sentiments, and ethos. Carr writes, “Thehuman brain is just an outdated computer that needs a fasterprocessor and a bigger hard drive” (27). The phrase captures hisdeep sentiments concerning how Google’s progressive development hasaltered man’s entire though processing system. The author arguesthat the availability of the internet has robbed the currentgeneration the deep, intricate, and unique essence of reading whichwas devoid of distractions and allowed one to indulge in deepthinking. As such, the availability of immense sources of diverseinformation on the net through systemic algorithms developed byGoogle have resulted in situations where previously ardent readerssimply skim over provided content. The author begins by quoting acouple of phrases from a futuristic film where a machine projectshuman like emotions as the owner disrupts its information processingcircuits. From the onset, the author builds upon his credibility withpersonal introspections, discussions with peers, and honest sourcestowards detailing convincing statistics or facts while alsointellectually utilizing emotional appeal to support his claims. Thediscourse illustrates the way Carr utilizes vivid imagery,exploration, personal experience, anecdotes, and tools of appeal tohook the readers and sway their perception on the detrimental oftechnological innovations.
Itis interesting how Carr associates his perceptions to what Google isdoing to the mind with the super-intelligent machine depicted inStanley Kubrick’s 2001:A Space Odyssey(Carr 1).Accordingto him, the only reason as to why it is not possible to read sheetsof tangible literature as before stems from the manner through whichGoogle has managed to transform internet usage as an unrivalledrepository of information (Carr 4). Search engines constructed by theinternet oriented entity have allowed people to obtain data easilyand quickly at the click of a mouse. The sources of material are sovast such that the human desire to benefit from all has eliminatedthe possibility of concentrating on a single piece to comprehensivelyperuse through or relate to while in deep retrospection. Being a goodand progressive thing to have all these information is indeed greatbut as Carr points out, the way individuals think has had to changefrom Google instigated influences.
Theentire article is awash with robust sources working in tandem tostrengthen Carr’s appeal to ethos, literal credibility andconstructively appraise the argument therein. One notable sourcedates to the 60’s and still makes great relevance to the author’scase. The source is Marshall McLuhan, a renowned media theorist whoprojected that the media plays a huge part in how viewers and thecommunity in general relate to a pertinent issue (Carr 4). In asimilar way, Carr suggests that information made available via Googledetermines contemplation as well as concentration spans. Otherweighty sources include a UK based educational consortium and theBritish Library which both came to the same realization that personsreliant on the internet for information tend to project skimmingactivities (Carr 7). More so, other than hop from one internet siteto the next, the users also exhibit greater inclinations to savingdocuments found useful with no significant evidence indicating thatsuch will ever be perused through. Using these sources,correspondences with other likeminded peers and via personalexperiences, the author manages to intertwine the data gained withhis subject matter to extensively appraise credibility.
Carr’sethos is further enhanced by his well-built applicability to logoswith statistics, statistics as well as the logical progression offocused notions presented in the article. For instance, he notes thatit was through the progressive reading of literature that attainmentof concise knowledge was made possible. As such, this knowledge theninformed the decision to opt for machine systems which allowed foronly useful information to be available while shelving the rest.Joseph Weizenbaum and Frederic Winslow Taylor say that machinesystems tend to determine how man uses the brain (Carr 12). In fact,Carr asserts, “In deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep, to rise,we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock”(14). The expression shows that the internet has hindered people’scapacities and thinking since they can google any information theydesire to know at any time.
Thebeginning and middle sections of the article display the author`s useof pathos on the subject. The initial paragraph illustrates a machinewhose brain is dying under the hands of an implacable man invoking ametaphorical aura to the article (Carr 1). For instance, he writes,“Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?”So, the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut DaveBowman” (1). His appreciation of the internet as a godsend alsohighlights the significance of technology advancement to life andeven the unfortunate outcome that people enjoy. However, Google issimply seeking to create an algorithm that will enable for asupercomputer that will compel individuals to use minds with systemlike efficiencies.
Inconclusion, Carr strongly begins the article by highlighting the painassociated with a mind tampered with. Through the article, he useshis credibility as a writer and factual basis supported by likemindedwriters and researchers to the irrevocable fact that machinealgorithms have altered how people’s brains work. The messageremains consistent and well-focused on the subject matter andpurposely concludes that machines will in the end have more emotionalfeel compared to the human brain already corrupted for the economicposterity of a few elite.
Carr,Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” TheAtlantic. Aug.2008.https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/.Accessed26 March 2017.