As We May Think

Ingrid Killian

Bush’s title of his article, “As We May Think” is unrealistic. He was a genius. He crystal balled to the point of realism in 2005. “The world has arrived as an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it.” The year was 1945 and he already saw the radio, TVs, newspapers, microfilm, punch cards as commonplace and was seeing into future of computers. He realized that compression was important, even with the expense; he introduced voice recognition; and acknowledged that the machines (computers) will be important devices in the future for various industries, but in 1945, there wasn’t a market of users for them…yet.

Bush introduces the idea of the PC, a machine where one could store all sorts of files and books, and all of which can be recalled easily. “It is primarily the piece of furniture at which he works.  On the top are slanting translucent screens on which material can be projected for convenient reading.” Bush talks about not only the appearance, but the mechanisms of this machine, the “memex”. The user can create a trail – file of what he’s working on and save it in the file or “code book”.  “And his trails (files) do not fade.” Years later his can find these trails. So not only was Bush creating this “memex”, he talked about the saving function, as well as the search engine on this new invention. Amazing!

"As WE may think”..no way, Bush thought in a league of his own.

As a contrast to Bush,  “Surviving & Thriving In The Information Age – Ten suggestions for finding meaning in the chaos of the Information Age,”by Knute Berger

http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC23/Berger2.htm  is the parent guiding the high school graduate as he enters the Information Age. Not sure you remember that song a few years ago, “Got to wear shades” and goes through all the things you should do/learn in life. Well this article is similar. I appreciated Bush’s optimism of the Information Age. This article, “Surviving and Thriving” more or less warns you, it’s a tough world now and here’s how to get through is successfully. Be wise, look for multiples sources of info, be accurate, don’t OD on info, embrace technology, toss ideas around, mellow, globalize, diversify, Believe in yourself!  I guess I should be reminded of those things once in a while, but maybe by mom instead?

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