“As We May Think” Nugget #1

Quote: “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” (7).



In the article “As We May Think” by Vannevar Bush, I was surprised by how he thought technology should be for the future considering this article was written right after World War II. He explains that we should handle association in a more organized way similar to today’s computer but instead he calls his organized device a Memex. Bush thinks that we cannot access information because there is no organization and sufficient was to view them. He says that this device can store all of today’s useful information and records created by scientist and other important figures. Just a couple of decades later we now have a device to access any information we need.  We can now pull up any information at the tip of our fingertips through a mobile phone. I remember using an encyclopedia as a kid to find any information I needed to write essays in elementary school but now technology has evolved so much that we can access this information instantly.



2 thoughts on ““As We May Think” Nugget #1

  1. I also remember using an encyclopedia. In elementary school, we used to have several projects where we would have to search through so many different ones just to find a little bit of information. Honestly, I do not like having such easy access to information. It is incredible, but it really sets us back on how we store information in our brains and how well we will do in our classes. It is not helpful to be doing homework and “Oh, what’s the answer to question 8? I’ll just Google it” doesn’t actually help us learn the information. It’s the same as cheating. We are too dependent on search engines and even things as simple as calculators. Using times tables worksheets was how I used to do my math, writing it out on cold hard paper and making myself think was the way to do it. The worst part about it is that school systems are allowing our children to do their learning the easy way. I have a 2 year old daughter and I will not let her be learning dependent on technology.

  2. The “Memex” is certainly the focal point of Bush’s work. Certainly, computers are one way to think about the Memex, but more specifically, we have databases (like what’s available through the library) and bookmarking services (like Diigo, which we’ll explore further soon) and file storage services (like Google Drive and/or Dropbox). In other words, I think what Bush couldn’t dream of was the distributed services and apps that comprise our own personal Memex.

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