Technology & Memory

By on


The thing that I loved most about the first chapter of Smarter Than You Think was when Clive Thompson was talking about man and computer working together. Instead of humans or computers being the best on their own, the best outcome came when the two were working together. "Which is smarter at chess-- humans or computers? Neither. Its the two together, working side by side."(page 5) I think that this harmony between us and technology is great and it is exactly where we are headed. I feel like everything I do has technology involved. For instance, (this might be odd but) I work at Starbucks and we have a warmer to heat up the pastries. I tell the warmer what the pastry is but then it knows what temperature and for how long to warm it. This is an example of how we interact and collaborate with technology on a daily basis.


The second chapter of Smarter Than You Think was about memories and talks about how Deb Roy put cameras around his house to document everything (which gave me a Paranormal Activity kind of feeling). It also talks about Gordon Bell who wears a camera and documents every single conversation, activity and interaction. I was curious about how the camera and audio recorder looked around his neck so here is a picture of Mr. Bell. I thought that they were going to be much bigger.


This whole chapter made me think of human memory in a different way. There were a few small phrases that I thought were beautiful and insightful: "The past is never dead. Its not even past" (page 23), "Memory isn't passive; its active" (page 26), and even the idea of the "hindsight bias" (page 27).



LBark94's picture

Great comments!

Hey Kate, great responses! The pictures are really helpful too! Its great that you connected it to your own life with work, so true that we interact with technology every day!
Larissa Barkley

maisyjoe's picture


Hey Kate!
I really enjoyed your response. When I read the first chapter I think that I thought about more large scale collaboration between man and machine but you were really able to bring it back to a more tangible level. I never thought about how the heating pastries process worked at Starbucks. Even using a calculator or a flat iron is really man working with a machine, and one has no use without the other. Thank you for opening my eyes to this!

jmalone's picture

I most certainly agree with

I most certainly agree with your findings, Kate!

While I think it's very cool that man has grown so accustomed to his machines that controlling them is second nature for him, I have to say I'm also a little scared of where it could lead. You would think that eventually we would augment our bodies with our technologies, and you would also think that that's not at all too far out, either. People talk of an impending singularity, and frankly the idea is a little frightening in how far it could advance technology and ourselves.

I guess I'll go buy some tin foil and keep an eye on for the time being.