Being Lazy Makes Us Dumb

Being Lazy Makes Us Dumb

Does technological advancement have more of a negative or positive effect?


From fire to the first automobile and from rocks to cellular devices, humans have been productively developing technology ever since the Stone Age. In "Automation Makes Us Dumb," Nicholas Carr elaborates how as technology advances with time, the human intelligence begins to decline. Carr incorporates University research and real-world statistics to emphasize how as the world becomes smarter through technology, humans have become less dependent on their own hands-on skills.

The reliance on an artificial variety in technology begins to concern him, as mistakes are more prone towards people's safety as a result of a lazier mindset in completing tasks in daily life. Although technology is a contributing factor to lower quality work, Carr fails to consider how resilient people are, how humans cause laziness and how higher skills are required in modern-day technology.

Difficult obstacles entail mistakes, but also room for growth. Although it is highly concerning that there are reports of tragic airplane crashes such as the "2009 crashes of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo and Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean, and the botched landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco in 2013," people must be reminded events like those are reported because media outlets report the events that do not commonly occur. However, due to these fears and news over plane crashes, pilots are now being evaluated more over their skills.

Naturally, there are some pilots who lack manual training. It is concerning knowing that there are people out there who are less prepared in difficult situations in the air, but Carr only expands on pilots who lack manual skills and there is no mention of pilots that have maintained all types of training. People are prone to mistakes. If something like this occurs, it is only brought to more attention. As a result, pilots become more aware and their training becomes more flexible to incorporate more practice to better equip themselves with crucial knowledge for future flights. Therefore, with the abundance of in-depth research over failing pilots, Carr's evidence is flawed due to the lack of analysis for the current solutions to those problems.

Technology is a contributing factor to laziness, not a cause. Carr claims that "Computers are taking over the kinds of knowledge work long considered the preserve of well-educated, well-trained professionals." Nowadays, teenagers procrastinate on schoolwork with the rise of social media, video games, and television shows. Low performance is the effect of their choice to be more active through leisure activities rather than dedicating their time to work on assignments. In relation to people in the workplace and students in a school setting, low-quality work is the result of a choice that people make, not an effect from technology. Humans have a tendency to work hard in finding something external to blame as a result of an unfavorable consequence. The reality is that people have the option to expand on their skills and sharpen their knowledge, but they choose not to expand their skills of traditional and updated use of that knowledge. As more people are making that choice, the result is that there are more instances where lower quality work is produced where it seems like technology is to blame, but truthfully, it is the people themselves that should take on more responsibility.

In the article, Carr narrowly focuses on the people who have negatively been affected by technology but fails to consider the wonders people have devised in advanced devices. In order to keep up with today's fast-paced, competitive world, people must stay updated with modern technology. He states that "the evidence is mounting that the same de-skilling effect that ate into the talents of factory workers last century is starting to gnaw away at professional skills," in order to prove that the development of new technology takes away from the skills of workers in their jobs. Carr focuses too much on the negative reliance of technology in various work areas, rather than considering the positive effects it has for the majority of the population. In contrast to his thoughts, an example of important development would be the powerful machinery mass producing everyday necessities such as refrigerators, cars, and cell-phones.

These devices are the result of people who have worked hard, with their skills at the time, to develop a solution to a problem and acquire new skills. Without a refrigerator, food would perish much quicker, and without more advanced transportation methods and cellular devices, the world would not be as connected and developed as it is today. In addition, technology has allowed many researchers and doctors to aid third-world countries and share new discoveries to combat conflict around the world. Therefore, recognizing that although some traditional skills are fading, it takes a lot more skill to keep up with modern technology to further benefit the world.

People would be more grateful for modern advancements if the timeline were to be compared to people in the Stone Age. Although humans have the power to create such advanced materials, they also have the tendency to destroy, especially personal qualities of hard work. That results in an increase in unproductive humans who become lazy and thus blame it on technology for their own growing failures. People often find excuses for their unproductivity, because, in reality, technology can be a contributing factor to growing laziness, but it is in the people's control on whether or not they should be so reliant on technology.


Nicholas Carr

Works Cited

Carr, Nicholas. "Automation Makes US Dumb." Perspectives on Argument,

edited by Nancy V. Wood and James S. Miller, Pearson, 2018, pp. 393- 396.

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'Mom, I Am A Rich Man'

Cher owned it, and you can, too.

Most likely if you’re on any social media platform, you’ve seen the iconic video of Cher in an interview with Jane Pauley telling the story of her mother telling Cher that one day she should settle down and marry a rich man, to which Cher replies, “Mom, I am a rich man.”

*Disclaimer: Don’t worry boys, this article will still pertain to you, too.

In the days of “Mad Men” and Andy Griffith, the family unit was very much structured and known: a mother, who made the home and raised several kids, and a father, who earned the money for the household. There was never any confusion as to how one was to live one’s life, because every individual knew that this was the structure to follow. Be born. Make friends. Play. Grow up. Go to school. Meet someone. Possibly attend college. Marry. Have multiple children. Follow gender-assigned role. Repeat for next generation.

Then one day, the world began to change.

Women began attending college for more than an MRS degree. Divorce rates began to increase. Individuals began staying single for longer. Couples began having fewer kids and also having kids later in life. Homosexuals and other members of the LGBTQ community started coming out and sharing their voices. Schools were finally being desegregated. Technology was beginning its exponential growth, and the world woke up.

Cher’s mother was raised to believe these were the next steps Cher should take in life, just as probably similarly your parents have made comments to you that you do not believe line up with your generation’s viewpoint in today’s society. You’ve probably come to already realize that this is a generational gap between you and your parents; however, this is not the topic I want to focus on today. I want to talk about the concept of the individual unit.

Earlier on, I spoke about the '60s family unit. Back then, that was the unit. Even while there were several different roles within a family unit, every family made decisions and moved together. Today, we move into the individual unit. We have gone from making decisions on how we think they would impact the family onto how they will impact the individual. Often, people think negatively on this way of decision making, because isn’t it selfish to makes decision based off oneself?

The answer is… no.

Now before I get some serious hate for that statement, let me back it up. For all my business majors out there (yes, I am one myself), you’ve likely taken or will likely have to take an economics course. One of the basic goals of economics is maximizing profit, which is sometimes depicted as not focusing on how large your slice of the pie is but determining how to make the pie as large as possible. Let’s take this back to the family and individual units.

When decisions were made based on how they would affect the family unit, sometimes the decisions of one individual would hold back the others within the family from “maximizing their profit” or maximizing their potential. Perhaps this was staying home to raise the kids rather than following a career path that interested the parent. This may have been staying in an unhappy marriage to follow society’s standards rather than leaving the marriage and benefiting one’s family more by being happy alone. Although at first glance, these sacrifices may have seemed heroic and for the best for the family unit, looking back the alternatives may have actually put the individuals of the family in a happier place which would have reflected in the long run positively on the rest of the family.

Maximizing your potential is maximizing your happiness, and vice versa. We often think that to be successful and have an abundance of money must make us an evil person to be so selfish. We think that the phrase “money doesn’t buy happiness” means that money equals success and therefore if we’re successful we’re not actually happy even if we think we are. That idea is often what holds so many back from their greatest potential.

To be successful doesn’t mean that one can’t look back and help the people from their past and their family up the ladder once they’ve reached the top. To be successful doesn’t mean that one can never marry or multiply their happiness in others surrounding them, friends, family, spouse, children and all. To be successful means that one takes a step back, looks around, and asks, “Am I the happiest I can be at this present moment? And if not, what can I do to take myself there?”

It’s with those answers that we maximize our potential and growth. It is in our growth that we find gratitude for our efforts. It is in our gratitude that we find happiness in all that we have become.


Cover Image Credit: David Carroll

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This One’s For Africa


Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.


It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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