I got me one of those “memexs”

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“As We May Think” by Vannevar Bush, The Atlantic, July 1945 Issue

Fascinating read. I will admit that I skimmed right over the date that this article was written and didn’t even realize that it wasn’t a more current article until well into it. When I got to Section 1 where the author begins to talk about cathode ray tubes, that seemed a little odd, but I kept reading until Section 2 with the mention of printing and recording on film, wax disks, and magnetic wires, I got suspicious and referred back to the front page. I then had to start over with a different frame of mind.

It is interesting that some things have changed and many things haven’t. I especially enjoyed the section about the “memex.” It will be another few years before the first computers are built that actually store data. (http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/memory-storage/)

Presumably man’s spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems. He has built a civilization so complex that he needs to mechanize his records more fully if he is to push his experiment to its logical conclusion and not merely become bogged down part way there by overtaxing his limited memory. His excursions may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important.

We now have the capability for many of these activities that Bush is talking about with things like the read-write web and cloud computing. We still need to get to a place where as learners we’re ok with not knowing all the facts or answers and being better equipped with knowing where to find the answers and knowing how to critically evaluate where or not there is truth in what we find.

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