In Is Google Making Us Stupid?, Carr expresses concerns about the effect of technology on the mind. It draws the conclusion that automation means less intelligence of our own, as if we are being replaced by machines.
I feel that the larger concern is not technology itself, it is how we use it and when we use it. As mentioned in Myth of the Disconnected Life by Jason Farmon, within technology use lies a greater concern. He mentions a commercial that played on this concern, showing people ignoring their children by staring at their phones. Yes, this type of technology use is a problem. I have seen the same thing; I can still picture a mom sitting in Dunkin Donuts with her two little daughters repetitiously saying “mom” to show her their drawing, and she was still on her phone texting, responding to them abruptly with “one second”.
Between class changes, I challenge you to observe students (and faculty) walking on campus. Most people are looking down at their phones. After noticing this phenomenon (when I actually looked up from my phone myself) I shared a brief moment of similar concern to Carr. We have efficiency at the expense of other forms of interaction- with people, with literature, etc.
But- what if that mom seemingly neglecting her daughters was texting a friend across the country (or even the world) to offer condolences during a difficult time? Or what if (most) students on their phones between classes are updating family members back at home, responding to important emails about assignments, or reaching out to new friends to make stronger connections? Or maybe one is searching for the location of a building on campus if she is a lost graduate student named Krissy Cantin on the first day of graduate school.
My conclusion regarding the effects of technology is “it depends.”
As stated by two seemingly contradictory popular quotes, “too much of a good thing can be bad”, or, “too much of a good thing can be wonderful”. What do you think?