Vannevar Bush Nugget

“Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and, to coin one at random, “memex” will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.”


Consideration for this device is no longer necessary, because I believe it already exists in what we call the “smartphone”. These devices do indeed allow an individual to store basically their entire life on one device. There is an app for seemingly every problem one could possibly face on a day to day lifestyle. Smartphones are continuously improving their cameras and are allowing one to not only store, but share their life through pictures via Instagram and other mobile social media. What was the idea of “memex” is now the reality of what we call a smartphone.

One thought on “Vannevar Bush Nugget”

  1. Given the rest of Bush’s essay, do you think the way we use the smartphone lives up to his vision? Also, what do you make of that strange little word “intimate” in this nugget? Do you find that your smartphone is “an enlarged intimate supplement” to your own memory? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Follow-up question: do you have all your “books, records and communication” on your phone? I read books on my phone all the time, but I find this is still fairly rare.

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