Becoming One with Technology

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr is all about how technology is causing our brains to change.  That change is making it harder for us to engage with each other in ways we used to in the past.  Carr seems to blame this all on our devices, but I don’t think that is very fair.  We are the reason for these technological advances.  Computers and phones wouldn’t keep advancing if we didn’t have such a reliance on them.  Carr introduces this idea: “Even as our technologies become extensions of ourselves, we become extensions of our technologies”(Carr 209).  Just as much as we need technology, technology needs us.  Every year Apple comes out with a new phone because the last generation iPhone no longer fulfills our needs.  Technology is only trying to keep up with our advancements.

Laptops, iPhone’s, and other technological devices have all become a part of our lives.  I 20170222_225502look at those types of devices as an extension of ourselves both physically and mentally.  The image that goes along with this post represents how we are becoming one with our devices.  I go everywhere with my phone in my hand, and if my phone is somewhere else I feel uncomfortable and like I’m missing something.  Phones have become extensions of our physical bodies in the sense that we can never put them down.  It’s as if they’re a part of our hands.  Mentally, technology has also intertwined with who we are.  Our devices hold so much information about our lives they are an extra part of our brains.  My phone holds hundreds of songs that feels like a personal diary, thousands of photos that preserve my memories, and millions of texts that allow me to connect with people regardless of where they are.  Technology may have consequences, but no one could live without it.

The second half of the book continues to address the idea that technology is changing who we are.  Carr suggests that technology has become an extension of us just as we become an extension of our technologies.  I agree with him in that sense, but if that’s true then why can Carr put so much blame on technology?  He describes it as being reliant on us meaning technology couldn’t thrive without its consumer.  Technology wouldn’t be advancing if it wasn’t for humans demanding and craving those new advancements.  Carr’s blame for our problems on technology is not fair.  We can’t blame technology because we can’t live without it.

Author: Jessica Leibman

I am a Freshman at the University of Delaware and I am majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. I want to add my voice to current issues we face.

5 thoughts on “Becoming One with Technology”

  1. It’s very easy to relate to your argument here when it comes to technology as an extension of ourselves. Like you, I’ve found that to go even a few hours without my phone by my side seems wholly unnatural, despite the fact that half of the time I don’t even register that it’s in my possession. I find your argument thought provoking, especially your last sentence. “We cannot blame technology because we cannot live without it”, despite the context of your argument it offers a conflicting message. I believe your meaning is that technology is not at fault for our self inflicted dependency on it, however it can be read as meaning that technology is above blame due to our dependence on it to a point where we cannot go about our lives without it. To agree with the former is to see the fault in man of getting to this point of complete dependency, where as to agree with the latter is to concede to the notions of Carr.

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  2. I love the way that you used Carr’s quote but viewed it through a different lens. I completely agree, yes technology affects us, but why else would it be advancing? The intention of advancing technology is to advance ourselves, and we are all to blame for letting it go too far a lot of the time: being on our phones in class, when ordering at a restaurant, or just when having a conversation with someone. Yes we have technology but we also can choose to limit ourselves, at least to a certain extent.

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  3. Does Apple really come out with a new iPhone because we can’t live with the features of the previous…? Really? They change width and dimensions a bit… slightly larger/smaller screen. The idea that we can’t live without phones/technology is a bit far fetched… at the least we can live with them in better moderation?

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  4. I still stand by my argument and I do think that in this day and age we can’t live without technology. Yes, we can live without Instagram and Facebook, but the more simple aspects like calling people or taking photos are so woven into our daily lives. What I was trying to describe in my argument was that technology has become an extension of ourselves, and because of that dependence, the blame can’t solely be on technology for changing us.

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  5. Jessica,

    I think your 2nd ¶ is brilliantly written, and the fact that you’ve drawn the image of the phone in your hand (before then photographing it with your camera!) makes it feel all that more connected to you. Nice work!

    Here’s my question for you, though: You set yourself up here as arguing with Carr, but I can imagine him saying something like, when Jessica writes “extension”, she really just means “crutch”. She’s proving my point that technology is now using us. How would you respond?

    ~Joe

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