“As We May Think”

After reading Vannevar Bush’s article As We May Think, it made me realize that even after all the fighting of World War II, scientists started to prepare for the future and that Bush was a man who was ready for the technology to change and evolve. Bush wanted to make life easier for everyone. He wanted a way it seemed to categorize data and findings to make them more accessible and easier to locate. Bush wanted it be a way to not loose all the knowledgeable findings and to get them together on a computer like device he called a “memex”, as Hailey stated in her earlier post. And after really digging and to this reading I could understand why. In the article Bush states,” Mendel’s concept of the laws of genetics was lost to the world for a generation because his publication did not reach the few who were capable of grasping and extending it; and this sort of catastrophe is undoubtedly being repeated all about us, as truly significant attainments become lost in the mass of the inconsequential.” And to loose something so amazing and realizing it wasn’t able to be researched the way it could have been because it got lost and didn’t reach the hands of the proper people to better study Mendel’s concept makes me wonder if we could have had an advancement like Bush wanted at that time could there be a cure for certain diseases that were just popping up and being studied, would we have been better prepared for the Japanese before that early morning in December of 1942.

There was a lot in his article he went on to discuss about film and how at that time it still had a long way to go and develop. To me, I sit back and think of all the things I have or even what we as a more developed civilization have that we didn’t have back then and how they weren’t connected to their phones or constantly taking “selfies,” and uploading them within seconds to our favorite social media sites. It also makes me want to go back to a somewhat simpler time to remember to go see the real beauty in things instead of just goggling it from the convenience of my laptop that can do so much for me but I can do so little for it.  It also made me question will there be a time when humans become useless and technology is the new form of human and is there a way to control what could come next.

I think Bush was ready for technological advancements and was ready to make life easier for himself and other around him. I don’t know if this is what he would have wanted but I would like to think majority of the new technology that has developed over time and current would be something he would enjoy and be proud of.


3 thoughts on ““As We May Think”

  1. “As We May Think” by Vannevar Bush is an essay, scientific in nature, regarding Bush’s concern for future technology updates. Bush proposes what he calls a “memex” – a collective memory machine that would make knowledge more accessible. He essentially predicted computers and the internet, roughly fifty years before the internet came to be. Bush also mentions other technologies, such as photography and microphotography and discusses their potential for future use. Bush states that “the combination of optical projection and photographic reduction is already producing some results in microfilm for scholarly purposes, and the potentialities are highly suggestive.”
    I agree with Dana. I would also love to go back to a simpler time where you had no choice but to see the true beauty in things without using google. In 1945, the world was not like it is today, technology wise. My parents were born in the early 1940s, and they did not get a television in their respective homes until they were about 10 years old. There was no internet or computers. The telephones they used were rotary telephones. There were no cell phones, no Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. When I converse with my mother regarding technology, she expresses amazement about how so many things are available to you with “just one click of the mouse”, especially compared to technology, or a lack of, when she was a child.
    When I think about the future of technology, I imagine it only getting better and faster. I won’t be surprised if, in my lifetime, inventions come along that can fly us from the US to India in a matter of minutes, or a kind of time travel machine that “beams” us where we want to go in just seconds. Think about how much time people will save with all of this new technology!

  2. I agree Bush’s goal was for the scientists to create things that would make life easier. Bush was also aware of the danger of too much data being published and resulting in the possibility of data being lost. The seriousness of this is evident with your mention of a possible cure for a disease being lost or not getting to the right people in time to do anything. So I think the idea of the “memex,” is brilliant. To categorize and link research together is beyond helpful and will save a lot of money, time, and possibly lives. I however, like you, fear the possibility of the human race becoming obsolete when it comes to the technological world. I think we need to take a step back and reenter the real world, and experience the beauty it has to offer.

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