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Shaye Dumas
Erin Rogers
Writing 2010
02-04-16
Is Google Making Us Stupid Rhetorical Devices
In Nicholas Carrs Is Google Making Us Stupid article, he discusses how he believes
technology, specifically the internet, has changed how we read and how we learn new things.
Carr uses ethos, logos, and pathos to show his readers how the internet has changed how
humanity lives today. In this article, Carr mentions Stanley Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey to
connect a character portrayed as a human-like machine with computers and the internet because
one of the experiments that Google wants to try is to create an artificial brain for humans that
puts information into our brains to make us more intelligent. The internet has invaded a majority
of the human populations life and time. It contains so much information that people can just type
in a couple of keywords into Google for a question that they have and they would get their
answer almost immediately. Before we had the internet, people had to look in books for the
answer to their question and actually had to deep read without distractions. These are ultimately
the main points mentioned the most in Carrs article because he is trying to explain how he sees
the internet and how it has affected every human being.
In Carrs article, he uses ethos to give credibility to his sources as well as to convince the
audience that what he is saying is true. One of the points that he clearly pointed out was that
everyone, even people that write books, articles, blog, etc. have stopped reading like they used to
because the internet has caused people to quickly scan a page to get the main point of whatever
they are reading. A person that Carr had known, Scott Karp, who writes a blog about online

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media [and is a literary major in college], recently confessed that he [had] stopped reading books
altogether. This is a good example of ethos because it mentions who the person that said that is
and what they do for a living. Karp is a good credible source for Carrs article because he gives
proof that he has actually experienced this dilemma in reading because of the internet. This
shows that the article isnt just based off of what the author believes and states, it gives and
shows the audience a credible person that has experience in writing and reading because they
own a blog and they were a literary major in college. Google is the main object being mentioned
in this article and it itself should have credibility for all the information that it has online.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page, [were] the gifted young men who founded Google while pursuing
doctoral degrees in computer science at Stanford, speak fluently of their desire to turn their
search engine into an artificial intelligence, a HAL-like machine that might be connected directly
to our brains. Knowing that Brin and Page were in college and were experienced in computer
sciences makes them credible enough to know that Google has correct information and is proof
of ethos; this also give Carr credibility that the facts mentioned about Google in this article are
true due to the fact that the founders of Google have doctorate degrees in computer sciences.
This gives credibility to Carrs article because it shows that it is possible for the internet to
eventually control our minds and turn us into machines.
Logos is logical proof of what someone created or mentioned, such as facts, statistics,
quotes, and evidence. Carr uses logos throughout the whole paper and every paragraph by using
quotes from interviews, conversations, or statistics. One of the main points made and mentioned
multiple times is that with the internet that we have today, we are able to quickly look up an
answer to a question with just a couple of quick clicks and reading. He states that research that
once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A

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few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and Ive got the telltale fact or pithy
quote I was after. This represents logos because it shows the advancement of Google and the
internet compared to the days before computers. This also shows the process of finding what you
need by typing the keywords into Google and clicking on the links that seem helpful. This
supports his article due to the fact that before computers, in order to answer a question or search
for something, people had to look through piles of books, where now, because of the internet, we
can find the answer in minutes instead of hours. Statistics are powerful for logos because they
show evidence through values recieved of the experiment or study that took place. One of the
studies mentioned in this article was based on source hopping between two different research
webpages. They found that people using the sites exhibited a form of skimming activity,
hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source theyd already visited.
This is a powerful example of logos because it showed and talked about a statistic based on
bouncing rates of viewers from one resource to another. This also refers to a reference that
Carr took from another website, which shows proof that it wasnt made up. In Carrs paper, this
proves that people that read dont deep read like we used to, but now we just skim over the page
to get the main point of it, which happens mostly on the internet.
Carr used plenty of pathos in this article which is emotion, that keeps the audience active
and it prevents the article from becoming bland. An important aspect of this article is that instead
of putting other opinions in the article, Carr includes his opinions and thoughts about what hes
writing about. At the beginning of the article, Carr writes: I can feel it, too. Over the past few
years Ive had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my
brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory my mind isnt going so far
as I can tell but its changing. Im not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most

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strongly when Im reading. This is a strong example of pathos not just because its the authors
opinions and it shows emotion, but because hes referring to HAL, a robot in the movie 2001.
The Space Odyssey. Carr wants to get his audience to feel and sense what he is feeling when he
reads and he wants the audience to understand that the internet has influenced how we read due
to the difference between deep and distracted reading that it causes compared to hard books. The
author is connecting with the character in the book and expressing how he feels about the
internet and the change on how he reads compared to how the robot feels when his circuits start
to fry and he knows hes dying when he says he can feel it. Carr mentions the robot, HAL, at
the beginning and the ending of the article and explains why he keeps mentioning it at the end.
He writes what the robot says with emotion and speaks his opinion on the robot. What makes it
so poignant, and so weird, is the computers personal response to the disassembly of its mind: its
despair as one circuit after another goes dark, its childlike pleading with the astronaut I can
feel it. I can feel it. Im afraid and its final reversion to what can only be called a state of
innocence. This is a good example of pathos because it gives the authors opinion on what the
robot is saying, and it gives emotion to the robot. Carr also using strong words that cause
emotions such as despair and pleading because those words cause the reader to feel pity on
the character and the need to help those that they cant help. This is significant at the end because
the robots brain is being disassembled and its circuits are frying, this is like the artificial brain
that Google wants to experiment and make for the population. The robot has emotions and
feelings, but he is not a person.
In Nicholas Carrs article Is Google Making Us Stupid, there are three rhetorical devices
used that makes this article significant: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is credibility, which
convinces that the information is true and correct. Logos is evidence, which shows resources

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such as statistics, quotes, and data to show that the information isnt made up. Pathos is emotion,
used with feelings and thoughts, which is extremely important when trying to keep your
audience listening and reading. All three of these rhetorical devices are needed to write a good
paper and to keep your audience engaged. The most important point made in Carrs article was
based on the internet and what it does to our brain with how we read and write due to it. The
internet makes it easy to access answers to questions and to find information, but it doesnt
involve enough thinking to remember what we read because of distractions and since its quick
and easy. Carr uses ethos well to give his audience credible resources on where he got his
information, while using logos to give his audience the proof of his information to believe him,
and also used pathos to keep his audience involved and intrigued to keep reading up on his
research.