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On The Threshold Of Digitalization

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    There has been a lot of changes in the society with the development in the digital sector in the past few decades. We have been introduced to different types of technological advancement and different types of devices that can be used in daily life which has reshaped our society and our values and norms. In the essay “We Are All Quants Now” Paula Marie Cohen has tried to explain how the society has changed with time and how we are all valuing things in quantitative basis rather than qualitative basis like we used to in old days. Similarly, in the essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid” Nicholas Carr talks about how the internet or web is deeply impacting one’s capacity to stay focused and concentrated on a specific topic like deep reading and also affected one’s ability to make critical decisions. Cohen in her essay gives the example of a small girl who waits for her drawing to be evaluated by the number of likes she gets on it which clearly portraits the quantitative evaluation of things nowadays in our society.

    And Carr gives his own experience about how his frequent use of internet affected his ability to read longs texts and information without getting distracted. Both the essays talk about the modern-day societies problems, how it began and how bad it could get if we don’t realize its effect in our daily lives. Cohen has introduced the character of the small girl in the essay “We Are All Quants Now” in the way that she represents almost all the kids of the present generation. She explains how the society has changed and adapted to a new system and culture. Cohen claims that “The Pathak 2child’s response reflects the culturally significant trend”. She has tried to portray the practice of the quantitative evaluation of everything in the present-day society as the culturally significant trend. Similarly, Nicholas Carr explains how the internet has affected the concentration power of young adults of the present age. He has claimed that the frequent use of the internet has reduced people’s deep reading capacity.

    Carr says that “When I mentioned my troubles with reading to friends, most of them say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing”. Carr says that the internet distracts people from being concentrated to a study. The use of the internet is growing day by day and people are getting used to it very fast. It has lots of information and many entertaining things which keeps people addicted to it. Cohen addresses the problem of the quantitative evaluation of things as an issue caused by our culture of assessment. She says “It’s the trickle-down effect of our culture of assessment and big data analysis”. Cohen has tried to picture the bigger issue and explain what is causing us to think in the quantitative terms. Cohen explains that our daily activities are being quantitatively analyzed by the internet tools according to our buying habits and are giving us the products, we have bought or looked up the most.

    Cohen claims “Netflix and Amazon quantify our buying habits and pitch us products based our user profile”. Cohen has made a pretty obvious statement as we all are the victim of this incident. We get the same kind of recommendation on the shopping sites and even on the ads on any social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Viber etc. Similarly, Nicholas Carr says that the internet is tinkering with our brain by supplying different kinds of stuff and information. Carr claims “They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of the thought” . Here “They” refers to the internet or the web. Carr claims that internet puts Pathak 3 different kinds of easy information in our brain and shapes it for easy access to the information and decrease its creativity. In the past few decades, the internet has made a lot of changes in our society and the changes were both good and bad. Most importantly the internet made people lazy which invited different kinds of problems with it.

    The internet gives us all the kinds of facilities in our hand without any difficulties. Which made us lazy and maybe dumb as well. Carr has explained the danger of the internet and its effect on humans in a humorous manner in his essay. He says that “The Italian humanist Hieronimo Squarciafi worried that the easy availability of books would lead to intellectual laziness”. Carr has tried to portray the possible danger of the internet in our intelligence by using the information from the 15 th century by saying that the people saw the book as a thing which could make people lazy and not work hard to get the information.With the advancement in the field of science and technology, everything started to get virtualized. People have the online version of everything like multiplayer games, dating sites, social networks etc. All of these activities required people to get out of their homes and meet one another. But, with the advancement of technology people started to get out of their homes less.

    We have developed a new kind of culture which doesn’t require people to be real. A person who is famous in social media or who gets a lot of likes in his/her posts on the social media is considered famous in the real life too. People have started to make judgments about people on the basis of their social media profiles. Cohen expresses her concern about this culture and says that “This new twist in the culture has existential implications. It makes our judgments, values, and tastes subject to a new context of evaluation”. Cohen wants us to know that this culture is twisting our thoughts and our judgments and evaluation of things. People can be real or they can be totally fake in the social media, which doesn’t allow people to see their real picture Pathak 4 and may force people to make false judgment towards others. Nicholas Carr in his essay Is Google Making Us Stupid has tried to show the huge effect of the frequent use of the internet through different examples. In one of his examples, he talked about Friedrich Nietzsche and how his writing style changed after he bought a typewriter. Carr cites “The machine had a subtler effect on his work.

    One of the Nietzsche’s friend noticed a change in the style of his writing”. In this example, he has tried to convey his message through the change the typewriter brought in the style of writing of a professional writer. And wants us to picture how the Internet a big easy source of information would affect our way of thinking and our behaviors. Won’t that easy source of information makes us lazy and make us take everything for granted? Although there may be lots of cons of the technology and the quantitative evaluation of things done by it, there are some pros or benefits of it as well. According to Cohen, the quantitative evaluation of the things through different types of modern tools have helped simplify complex situations. Cohen says that some of the difficulties in determining value, or worth of the things can be done by measuring the number of likes from its target audience. Cohen says “ a compilation of likes can simplify and clarify decision-making”.

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