In the twenty-first century, the use of technology has become an integral part of people’s everyday life. People tend to become more and more dependent on technologies in almost every aspect of their lives since the vast majority believes that it has made the daily functions easier. This is especially just while taking into consideration that software programs, global networks, and memory devices of all kinds have transcended the limits of our understanding of the essence of information and cognitive processes. Yet, a different perspective is presented in a book titled The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicolas Carr. The technological age has just begun, thus, people are still unaware of the harmful effects that come with the use of technology. Moreover, it is almost impossible to predict the long-term consequences of uncontrolled development and use of technology. Carr asserts that the use of Internet and computers-based technologies has slowed down the pace of evolution of the brain due to memory loss, cognitive and reading skills’ impediment.
The use of computer systems is based mostly on Internet as the source of information. The specific focus is on the internet and how an enormous number of users all over the world have developed a unique type of language which is influencing the set norms and abilities for people to communicate. Carr calls this phenomenon a problem because firstly, people do not notice that they are becoming supporters of a trend that can be extremely detrimental to a society, but also, it is done through their voluntary wants and needs, so the spread takes place at a much greater rate. One of the interesting points made is that there is no difference between the types of people who become victims of the poor memory retention and internet usage. People from all walks of life, including high school students, businesses and corporations, all use the internet. One of the reasons why this is happening is mostly due to the increase in technology and internet use. It is possible to accept the aforementioned fact as innovational since people lead busier lives that require quick communication. The personal gadgets that are used by people from all classes are not created to be used for typing long sentences and essays, as it will take up enormous amounts of time. This affects the ability to read, write and memorize. On the one hand, it is understandable that by using gadgets people can save time on communication and accomplish much more with saved minutes, but at the same time, it is rather destructing to the brain, people’s understanding of morality and respect for themselves.
Fluency, in this particular case, means capability of reading swiftly, precisely, in keeping with the logic of text, and expressively. Internet has changed people’s abilities to pay full attention to reading and do it fluently. The use of mentor texts, maps of development for the reading technique and proper understanding of grammar are all points that must be recognized and considered in heightening a personal reading level while this is not needed on the internet. The author states that poor readers are emerging everywhere with a tendency to read in an outdated manner making comprehension of the work given troublesome to them (Carr 2011). It has been notes that having texts and applying effort to focusing on the information is an important tool, as they provide a reference point that could help to see how they are progressing. The reading of texts must be structured and organized, so that people can rely on some specific and strong base. The return to previous texts is considered to be a simple and effective means to learn, as it provides a base which can be built on. Some of the major goals are aimed at decreasing the error made earlier on or increasing the speed of reading.
It is well known that reading is a complex skill that entails several stages, from learning the proper grammar, to the ability to place oneself into the context which continually develops the brain. Internet has provided an enormous number of materials, visual by the way of videos and audio through podcasts. Graphic representations have enabled people to grasp vast amounts of information in a short amount of time, but the learned facts do not serve their purpose as the memory cannot keep knowledge which has been accesses quickly and without repetition. Carr (2011) specifies that it is crucial for people to repeat actions and words in order to memorize and develop the mind while the internet allows quick and easy access with no need for repetition. Also, the portable nature of technology has simplified lives because there is a connection to all services online. There is no need to talk to people, walk around and search for information; it is readily available at a touch of a finger.
As the demanding world is changing, people have learned to prioritize in everything, and the price paid for shortening words and sentences does not seem that great because reading has become more difficult. The author writes, that “To be everywhere is to be nowhere”, which means that with the vast space of internet the person can be in so many places at the same time, literally“everywhere”, but because of the multiple number of location it is difficult to trace, so the person is “nowhere” (Carr, 2011). Before internet, people led a more stationary life, knowing their exact location, not only physical, but mental as well. Nowadays, a person can be worlds away from their peers, family and friends. Carr acknowledges that not only is this shift related to the increase in speed of everything that takes place, but people actually want to spend time in the virtual world (2011). As human imagination has no limits, people have many paths to work with, thus amount of directions can be thought up indefinitely. Another quote by Carr lays special emphasis on the fact that people’s minds, their “consciousness” changes (2011). Particularly, the fact is that on the internet, innovation and speed are regarded as the markers of evolutionary processes, but parts of the brain that we used before for reading and memorizing are no longer functioning. Quick access has nullified the need to remember as a word typed up in a search engine will become available immediately.
Carr’s third quote talks about culture, heritage and individuality (2011). The ability to access vast amounts of information at a touch of a finger delivers knowledge and understanding of the surrounding environment, but the inner world suffers because all attention and time is transferred to the exterior—the web. People can search for almost anything and get an answer to their question without thinking or analyzing knowledge by themselves. Numerous search tools and programs let people access scientific data, as well as any other form of literature which impairs own beliefs and traditions. Traditions and heritage have been pushed into a melting pot of information which is presented online, so people are not focusing on what is important and close to their culture.
To conclude, it is important to admit the following. Throughout the recent years, the Internet has had a positive reputation. However, negative effects of uncontrolled development and use of technology are not taken seriously by the majorities. A change occurs to human mind mainly under the circumstances of excessive use of Internet and computer-based technologies. It is crucial that people avoid being influenced by the internet because it is believed to greatly impede skills in reading and registering information. Hypothetically, computer-based technologies can also be used to fix reading and cognitive impediments.