Compare and Contrast: Is Google Making Us Stupid and The Exclusive Theory Of Everything

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Rapid advances in technology and new knowledge about the world make scientists seek new explanations for certain things. In the center of attention of “Is Google making us stupid” by Carr and “The exclusive theory of everything” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow are the fundamental problems of science and philosophy. Authors are encouraged to ask questions about the structure of the world, share their thoughts and comment on established theories. The authors of both papers represent serious scientific research and successful attempts to popularize science for a wide range of readers, despite the fact that Hawking and Mlodinow address broader scientific topics.

“Is Google making us stupid” represents an attempt to explain how the Internet affects our brain and the inalienable products of its activities – memory, attention, thinking, the perception of ourselves and the world around us (Carr 89). It turned out that teenagers who play computer games in just ten days begin to show impressive progress in switching between tasks and visual objects. Also, experienced web surfers learn the ability for a very short time to read a web page, determining for themselves what value it can bear. Speed ​​and impulsivity in general can be considered as priority dominant of modern web browsing – well-established Internet users develop skills and habits that help them to somehow cope with the flow of abundant content. “The (elusive) theory of everything, in contrast to “Is Google making us stupid?” is not limited to the story of modern scientific ideas – it reveals the underlying motives behind the fundamental research. Hawking and Mlodinow show that a more complex system than the human brain is only the Universe (Bianchi). Plasticity is one of its fundamental properties. The brain is able to adjust and deform under the influence of the tasks that it solves. This means that not only do we influence the means of communication, but the media affect us.

Among the similarities, it can also be noted that both works are devoted to the theory of cognition, artistic perception. “Is Google making us stupid?” shows that all the information that falls into our field of vision is first processed in RAM. If the data are regarded as important, they are translated into deep memory, whose reserves are almost unlimited – this can be confirmed by Hawking and Mlodinow. Such release occurs due to various effects on the brain – injuries or tumors, but anomalies can create and mnemonists, people whose memory is phenomenally superior to the concept of a norm. Carr points out that feverish browsing and galloping movement from one link to another contributes to the fact that we cease to understand and assimilate what we read, watch or listen to. Important information is forced out of RAM and not delayed in the long term. Similarly, the three laws of robotics can now formulate the laws of building social networks. Carr does not consider technological achievements unnecessary, but he worries about how much we abuse them. The Internet has become for us the main source of information and means of communication, and a quick review of the headlines has replaced us with reading. Under the influence of the Internet has changed the way people think – it is harder for us to focus on one topic. Perhaps with Carr’s statements about the negative impact of technology on thinking, one can disagree, but he correctly notes that the Internet makes reading books increasingly difficult. It can also be noted that both works are designed for the mass reader and explain modern theories in simple words. Carr points out that modern theories of brain work simply the need for not only an active but also a passive state, which often seems to us to be a waste of time. Researchers believed that periods of tranquility are necessary for the brain to consolidate memory and carefully process the information received. Hawking makes a review of important scientific discoveries made over two decades, and in an accessible form for non- physics examines the main laws governing the universe (Barrow 38). Although Hawking uses differential geometry techniques to study the properties of space and time in space conditions. This is a new approach to the theory of relativity in the context of astronomy and cosmology. “The (elusive) theory of everything reveals”, the physical meaning of the curvature of the space-time continuum, studies the problem of singularity with respect to black holes, explores the stages of the expansion of the universe, and forecasts its further development (Kelso, Engstrom, Engstrom).

Unlike Carr, Hawking and Mlodinow tell the story and principles of modern physics. They seek to combine the general theory of relativity of Einstein and the ideas of Richard Feynman into one complete unified system that will describe everything that happens in the universe (Nealon, Nealon, Girou). The authors use differential geometry to study the consequences of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, but the results obtained are also valid in other metric gravity theories in which gravitational interaction is always attractive (Drees 99). Global methods of space-time research, systematically described in the monograph, are used to study singularities and defects of space-time, in particular, for obtaining theorems on singularities (Vaas).

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Carr, on the contrary, is limited to a narrow field of research, his article is mostly devoted to how thinking affects our consciousness. The author shows that increasing the speed of perception and reaction begins to drown understanding. In the studies referred to by Carr, it was pointed out that an active Internet user becomes extremely vulnerable to any distractions, while the depth of understanding of information and the ability to focus on one object dramatically decrease. Also, among the degrading skills, the ability to return to already rethought information, inductive analysis, critical thinking, imagination, and thinking was indicated. Among the main factors of influence were listed RSS-feeds, Twitter, constantly verified email. The main culprits for regression were indicated by web browsing and hypertext. Since then, technology has undergone a noticeable qualitative leap – as opposed to our brains.

Thus, it can be said that both authors try to answer visually the popular questions about the processes going on in the brain and the limits of its capabilities with the help of experiments (Hawking, Mlodinow 89). Carr was one of the first to describe how technologies change our culture and how automation deprives us of human skills and traits. “The (elusive) theory of everything” provides answers to all the main questions (including those that some people never thought of): what is time and space, is it possible that there is a higher mind (if possible, what is imposed by the limitations of the universe), how the universe is, how it originated, and how the human consciousness will die (if it perishes at all), and the human consciousness is determined (ie, has free will). The misunderstood danger is the false belief that technology is neutral. “Is Google making us stupid?” shows that the technology is not neutral, but biased, because they are based on algorithms that fulfill the tasks of their creators (to keep users, to earn on advertising). If we do not admit it, then the technologies and effects they provoke will continue to threaten us and confuse us. The literacy of the digital age is the ability to see the existence of algorithms and the ability to apply these algorithms to one’s behavior.


Works Cited

  1. Barrow, John. “Theories of everything.” Physics and Our View of the World, Cambridge
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  3. Bianchi, Lorenzo. “String Theory, Super Symmetry, and a Multiverse-Was This Stephen
  4. Hawking’s Theory of Everything?” Newsweek, 19 Mar. 2018,
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  8. Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google making us stupid?.’ Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education 107.2 (2008): 89-94.
  9. Drees, Willem B. “Theology and cosmology beyond the Big Bang theory.” Science and
  10. Religion. Springer, Dordrecht, 1990. 99-130.
  11. Hawking, Stephen, and Leonard Mlodinow. “The (elusive) theory of everything.” Scientific American 303.4 (2010): 68-71.
  12. Kelso, J. S., Engstrom, D. A., & Engstrom, D. (2006). The complementary nature. MIT press. Nealon, Jeffrey, Jeffrey Thomas Nealon, and Susan Searls Giroux. The theory toolbox:
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  15. Vaas, Rüdiger. “Life, the Universe, and almost Everything: Signs of Cosmic Design?” arXiv
  16. preprint arXiv:0910.5579 (2009).  
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