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.
Carr, Nicholas. "Automation Makes US Dumb." Perspectives on Argument,
edited by Nancy V. Wood and James S. Miller, Pearson, 2018, pp. 393- 396.