In the Nicholas Carr’s book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, the third chapter, “Tools of the Mind,” Carr talks about the human brain and “intellectual maturation”. Human brains develop over periods of time with the in inclusion of technology. He tells us how clocks and maps are heavily relied upon, and how they shape us as people. One part that really stood out to me was when he stated, “Every technology is an expression of human will. Through our tools, we seek to expand our power and control over our circumstances—over nature, over time and distance, over one another.” He continues to say that our technologies are in four categories:
1. plowing needle/fighter jets/plows – extends physical strength and dexterity
2. microscope/amplifier/Geiger Counter – extends sensitivity of our senses
3. birth control pills/corn plant – reshape nature to better serve our needs and desires
4. map/clock – support mental powers
Anyways, the reason why I’m bringing this up is because our intellectual technologies [map/clock] have the greatest power. In my eyes, a computer does not extend your physical strength, or extend your sensitivity of your senses. It somewhat reshapes nature because of the use of electricity, wifi, and sometimes new things are built to extend technology – but a computer more than anything supports your brain, your mental power. They keep your minds running. Carr explained them [intellectual technologies] as “our most intimate tools, the ones we use for self-expression, for shaping personal and public identity, and for cultivating relations with others”. People use computers for self-expression of some sort [finding things of your liking] shaping personal and public identity, [making a profile on the internet] and cultivating relations with others [keep in touch with people].
To me, it’s nice to see people using computers for self-expression because it encourages me to use it for my own self expression, too. However, as people, we need to make sure we are not confusing our self expression in the digital world and reality. Expressing yourself over the internet with words, letters, pictures, and videos can be very different from expressing yourself in person, to another person. We need to make sure the self-expression through the internet does not allow us to lose the ability to properly communicate in person with reality.
Nicholas G. Carr. The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember (Kindle Locations 735-736). Atlantic. Kindle Edition.