The book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains written by Nicolas Carr is aimed at examining the effects that the Internet produces on the way people think. In particular, the author accepts the benefits that information technologies have brought. However, at the same time, he argues that they impair many of the cognitive processes, especially attention and critical thinking.
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Thus, modern information technologies can eventually hinder the development of the society. This book is both interesting and thought-provoking because it throws light on the pitfalls associated with the use of the Internet. Furthermore, Nicolas Carr’s ideas should be considered by various professionals such as educators or business administrators who make use of new technologies. Nevertheless, the author does not take into account that the Internet can be viewed as a tool that can be used or misused. Provided that this tool is applied efficiently, it can offer many opportunities to a person. These are the main aspects that can be distinguished.
The author provides an analysis of how different technological innovations changed people’s conception of knowledge. For instance, the writer discusses the invention of printing by Gutenberg and the impact of this technology. More importantly, he refers to the experimental studies showing how new technologies such as the Internet can influence the cognitive processes of a person. For example, one can mention those studies indicating that Internet users are often unable to concentrate on a certain task for a long time. Additionally, Nicolas Carr notes that students, who read various online articles, find it more difficult to retain and analyze information.
In many cases, these people just skip through a text. This is one of the reasons why they learning can be impaired. This effect can influence the work of many professionals. On the whole, by focusing on experimental studies, the author can make his arguments more convincing because the readers can see that the writers’ claims are not based on mere speculations. This is one of the main issues that can be distinguished. On the whole, the writer believes that information technologies offer a great number of distractions that make it impossible for people to work on tasks requiring deep thought. This is one of the concerns that Nicholas Carr expresses.
Yet, it is critical to remember that the claims about the effects of information technologies have to be evaluated more closely. Nicolas Carr provides examples demonstrating that the negative effects of the Internet and other information technologies can be minimized. One should also keep in mind that many modern scholars increasingly rely on the Internet in order to do their research.
In turn, the barriers discussed by Nicolas Carr do not prevent them from thinking critically or concentrating on a certain task for a long time. Thus, one cannot say that the use of information technologies always leads to the same effects. These are some of the details are not discussed by the author in great detail. This is one of the limitations that should not be overlooked.
On the whole, modern technologies can be viewed as tools that enable people to gain access to various types of information. The process of finding relevant information has been significantly simplified, especially if a person clearly knows how to use search engines, scholarly databases, encyclopedias and other informational resources.
Admittedly, one cannot equate information and knowledge since the process of knowledge formation involves critical thinking, analysis, and concentration. So, to some degree, one can accept Nicolas Carr’s ideas. Nevertheless, accessibility of information is critical for the ability of a person to acquire new knowledge and skills. This is one of the details can be singled out.
Additionally, much attention should be paid to the attitudes of a person and his/her motivation. Admittedly, the author’s concerns should be taken into account by people who increasingly rely on the Internet. For example, one can speak about educators who incorporate information technologies into their classes. Thus, the arguments put forward by Nicolas Carr indicate that the emphasis on information technologies can lead to detrimental results.
Still, one cannot blame the Internet for the problems that some users can experience. More likely, these outcomes can be explained by the fact many people cannot properly organize their work. This issue is not fully discussed by Nicolas Carr. This is one of the points that can be made.
Overall, Nicholas Carr’s book is valuable because it throws light on the some of the pitfalls that the users of information technologies should avoid. Moreover, the writer offers many thought-provoking examples that readers may consider. The concerns expressed by the author are partly justified, since there are numerous examples demonstrating that many cognitive processes can be impaired, when a person works in an online environment. Nonetheless, it is critical to remember that the Internet and other information technologies should be treated as tools, but not as agents that shape the cognition of a person. This is the main issue that should not be disregarded.