Just a quick post today as the writing Muse has a hold of me something fierce.
More and more, I’m noticing my dependency on technology in a very key area: memory.
A friend of mine is in the hospital, and she gave me the phone number to her room, which I promptly put into my cellphone. However, for some reason, I couldn’t commit it to memory, nor did I feel particularly inclined to. I realized that I didn’t know any of my friends’ or family members’ phone numbers. I had them all stored away in my cellphone with little fear of losing them. And if I did, I could just reach out to them on Facebook and get their numbers. If that failed, then email would work just fine.
But years ago, before the advent of the Internet, I would memorize numbers because I had to. Sure, I had a little black book too, but at any given time, I could recite a list of numbers off the top of my head, at least the ones belonging to my closest friends and family. Since it’s no longer necessary to do so now, I feel like I’ve lost something.
It’s not just phone numbers, either. It’s all kinds of facts that I don’t feel an urgency to remember. Why? Because a casual search on Google or Wikipedia will give me the info I need. So that little transition from short term memory to long term doesn’t happen as much. Who needs to remember a bunch of facts these days anyway? Or Shakespeare quotations, which my literature professors could recite in a heartbeat?
It seems that machines are taking over not only labor but memory storage and management. I feel a Terminator 2, Skynet becoming aware scenario coming on. Maybe one day we’ll free up so much of our brain that we won’t have to remember a thing ourselves, and we can devote that brain power to something else.
What do you guys think?