Nicholas Carr: Technology is Ruining our Brains

carrBRISTOL, R.I. __ Nicholas Carr, author and Pulitzer prize nominee for general non-fiction spoke at Roger Williams University about the impact technology is having on the current generation. Carr spoke in the University’s recreational center to a large crowd of students, faculty, and Bristol residents.The Glass Cage argues that technology is regressing the human brain’s ability to think on its own because of human reliance on technology for answers.

Carr opened his discussion with an example of the Inuit people how they had for so many generations been known for their rich knowledge in navigation of the land they lived in for hunting. When GPS technology started to take over problems started to arise because of this technology. Carr exclaimed the effect of automation complacency, how when people start to trust in their technology so much they tune out and forget to really use their brains to solve problems because they assume that the technology will always work.

“You trust the machine so you start to stop and double check,” said Carr. Automation bias, he mentioned was the second of two problems that this new age of technology has brought about the first being automation complacency. Automation bias is trusting in the technology to the point that we humans assume that the technology is always to be right. An example that stood out in Carr’s speech was his description of a ship using gps navigation. The ship crew did not realize how far off course they were going because they assumed the technology was leading them the right way.

Carr claimed that our trust in our technology using Google as a prime target, we trust that the information Google gives us is highly accurate. People do not check sources because we are so used to being able to find the answers at our finger tips.

“What we have to ask ourselves is, is this technology allowing me to expand my knowledge or is it inhibiting or narrowing my ability to expand thus creating the glass cage,” Carr said.  He wrapped up his speech with a John Dewey quote that expanded his thoughts on the “glass cage.”


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