Effects of Technology, Our World and What It Means To Be Human
How is modern technology changing ourselves, our world, and what it means to be human?
The improvements in technology have brought with them changes in the way humans consume information. The major aspect of information that has been enhanced by modern technology is the availability and variety of information to choose from and work with. This is unlike in the past when sources of information such as books, journals and periodicals were restricted to the libraries. There is a lot of written content online and debates have ranged on whether this is a positive development plus the effects it has had on the intellectual habits of individuals. The sources below show that the problems witnessed in the reading habits of persons as a result of using online sources are just teething problems. The internet is a prelude to intellectual explosion such as the one that was witnessed in the 17th century after the printing press was invented.
Nicholas Carr is of the opinion that being online is costing him his ability to concentrate and read voluminous texts. He has asked fellow readers and bloggers that have informed him of suffering from the same problem. The with the internet is that it has so many sources of information on any item that a person may be seeking, that it is not possible to gore thorough all of them exhaustively. This has resulted in readers skimming through the texts they come across on the net in search for the most appropriate source. The problem that has arisen is that this habit is later on transferred to the reading of physical books even when the purpose is different from research. Nicholas asserts that as w writer, he misses the times he would get absorbed into a text hours while nowadays can only read a few pages at a time and start seeking out something more fun to do. It is as if the internet has rewired his brain causing him to lose his ability to concentrate. This is but one on the problems that critics on the online content have come up with, but it is not a new phenomenon.
Just as internet has attracted critics concerning the reading habits of persons, the invention of the printing press in the 17th century attracted the same if not more criticism. It was touted as evil because of the content that preceded the literature that is so praised in the modern world. According to Clay Shirky, erotic books were written a hundred years before scientific journals came into being. The internet is accused to harbor a lot of dumb stuff whose consumption is expected to make a person more stupid. Shirky is of a different opinion though, and claims that these are only some of the initial challenges facing the internet as a source of information. In time, ways of controlling and validating the information that is online will surface, just as is the case with peer reviewing in the literature world. The dumb media on the internet will in time become nondescript and it will lead to a rebirth of the human knowledge expanding it even more. This however, is made slower by the reluctant of instructors in schools to adopt digital sources of literature.
Lastly, Matthew Kirschenbaum has made an observation that the literature instructors in the teaching facility that he works in are not willing to embrace digital literature. He has further seen that the teachers rarely take online sources as credible for seeking academic information. They do use online literature for personal use, but will not use it for instructing the students. Matthew is insistent that digitized literature should be viewed with the same seriousness as traditional books, as there is no stopping the revolution in literature that has been occasioned by advancements in technology.
Carr, Nicholas. ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’. The Atlantic. N. p., 2008. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Carr feels that the Internet has interfered with his reading habits. He has a number of fellow intellectuals confirming the same. The use of the Internet has changed the way the human brain has been functioning in receipt and processing of information.
Kirschenbaum, Matthew. ‘How Reading Is Being Reimagined’. The Chronicle of Higher Education. N. p., 2007. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
The rate at which physical books are being digitized is alarmingly high. Instructors in schools are not receptive digital sources of information. There is simply no stopping the migration towards digital sources of information owing to the advancements in information technology.
Shirky, Clay. ‘Does The Internet Make You Smarter?’. Online.wsj.com. N. p., 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
The critics of online sources of information are similar to the critics of the printing press in the 17th century.