As per our discussions of where Nicholas Carr’s questions “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” might leave us, it seems like there is one thing that needs to be brought up in order to effectively consider Carr’s position. If we look at a Google search (or, the results from any search engine would suffice), we have to ask – What do we find? The answer is something that a lot of us probably wouldn’t think of, at least not initially – the answer is that Google provides us with information. Information that is sorted based upon a series of algorithms that are calculated in order to direct us towards the most commonly viewed information that pertains to the query we have entered. As a professor said in one of my undergraduate classes, information is information – the question is what do we do with it? In some cases it is easy to answer this question – I have a question about when a particular concern is going to take place, I Google it, I find the answer – this ends the inquiry. Of course, this is not the only scenario for responding to information – for example – a doctor who searches for information that other doctors, scientists, and researchers have found pertaining to a particular illness – using the information that has already made its way into circulation, the doctor is left with the question – what now?
The most problematic aspect of the search engine, from Carr’s perspective, is that it seems to be highly likely that people run the risk of becoming information hoarders, and not thinkers. Traditionally, information leads to new avenues of thought – new ways of thinking about something from a perspective that had not occurred before. This is part of the value that Carr finds in deep reading, which he believes has become endangered as a result of a series of digital technological breakthroughs.
This leaves us with the question – what could spur us on to think new thoughts when we find ourselves in the middle of a sea of information? A major part of that answer is to think critically and creatively. This framework will be useful to you as you begin to think about what you could work on for your podcast projects. As we discussed in class this week, it is important to approach technology, such as sound editing, not just as a way to further establish what people already believe, or know. It is important to consider how a given technology can allow you to think new thoughts that may not have been present (or even possible) before the creation of a particular type of technology.
I am looking forward to hear from all of you in class this week, regarding what you would like to do your podcast projects on.