Are information-retrieval tools like google set to diminish human memory?

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There's a gimmick in Jonathan Lethem's dystopian noir first novel, 'Gun with Occasional Music' whereby people start developing chronic amnesia and carry all their memories around on little electronic personal organisers. When I read this I thought "hoho, a nice Phil Dick type metaphor for contemporary schizo-culcha". But more and more, I find my memory for insignificant details going. The other day I couldn't remember the name of ManU's slack-jawed winger (Luke Chadwick) so I googled it. Worryingly, I find myself doing this more and more, and kind of relying on google/theinterweb rather than bothering to try and remember things. Does anyone else find this, and shd we be worried? (cf: nobody knows each other's phone numbers any more, because we rely on our mobile address books; cf also: Plato's antipathy to writing, because it would diminish people's ability to memorise things)

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I had something else to say here, but I forget what it was.

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I have always had a terrible, near-Memento like memory so I can't say that I blame information retrieval tools. For example, I could never ever remember anyone's phone number, so kept either scraps of paper or a teeny phone book with me to retrieve that information. So going to an electronic format merely keeps things less messy, for me.

Nicole, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I have an astoundingly accurate memory for obscure details, but then again, there isn't much else up there.

Mandee, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Crutchlike reliance on technology = more room in branes for actually important things.

Josh, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

historically, reliance on writing and books = start of precipitate decline in ability to remember or think => swift close to promising human civilisation => domination by 12-foot lizard ppl = descendents of william caxton DO YOU SEE!!

mark s, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Don't care. Gimme eat. As Mr. --- de Coverley put it.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 25 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link


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