Dart 381 – Week 02
What interested me the most about this article was Vannevar Bush’s concept of the memex and how accurate his foresight was in the way technology would be able to unfold in the future. It is incredible how comprehensive an idea Bush had, and how closely it matches to what we now have available. The memex was one of the things that started the revolution of the digital age because it influenced the development of early hypertext that eventually lead to the creation of the World Wide Web.
Charles Traub and Jonathan Lipkin write about the way humans deal and interact with this technology. They believe that “The computer is valuable in its ability to enable us to reconceptualize our relationship to knowledge, and to organize it, rather than merely accumulate information”. Ideally, this is how we should see the computer, however many of us depend on this device for every single thing. It is fair to say that technology has aided and worked to our advantages but it has also hindered human expression and creativity. Information is so easily accessible that we as humans must control the way we do things.
Dating back to Bush’s concept of the memex, he realized that linking information by association has far more in common with the human brain than do numerical or alphabetical hierarchies. The way he explains the human mind is this:
The human mind
The concept of this idea is what we now know today, Google, where the call-up of one piece of information immediately calls up another. We see it everywhere when we search for something on Google, when Facebook suggests friends, when Amazon recommends books. It is fascinating to think of how far information interface has evolved in the last sixty years. The extent to which information has been consolidated and networked is phenomenal. The contributions Bush has had on the larger, interdisciplinary fields of information and communication technology are readily apparent in our day to day lives.
As Traub and Lipkin says “Much in the same way that the text of the book threatened the multimodal cathedral, or photography’s imagery that of painting, the computer now threatens the book. Likely there will be a co-existence in the media. The book will likely not disappear, but will inevitably change in function and meaning, as did painting”. It makes one wonder what is possible for mankind to accomplish in the next 60 years with a little imagination!