Everybody wants a Memex, right?

All the gadgets a cyberpunk could ask for...

All the gadgets a cyberpunk could ask for…

The above depiction is what my Memex device would look like if technology were adequate to my wild imagination. What’s a Memex, you ask? Well after World War Two, scientists were speculating about what to do with themselves, so a guy named Vannevar Bush said “Why don’t we collect all human knowledge and make it easily accesible?” In this article, Bush describes a machine called the Memex. While the physical description sounds pretty cumbersome, the functioning of this device is quite prescient of the internet and modern computing technology.

Instead of a cumbersome, desk-sized device, I drew from the science fiction stories i’ve heard/seen/played and dreamed up what my Memex machine would look like. I discovered that I’m quite the minimalist when it comes to technology. My one-gadget-beats-all has means of generating it’s own power (via walking or something like that), can access anything from anywhere, and displays through my glasses. Small order right?

It makes me marvel at how much technology has changed in my lifetime (i.e., since the 80s), and wonder where else technology will go in the coming years. People from the 50s thought we would have flying cars and Star Trek stuff. Now we DO have Star Trek stuff! Will technology seek to set itself apart from our current aesthetic, being all flashy as the next big thing? Or will it seek to look just like life as usual, be smaller and hidden rather than big and attention grabbing? A sheet of paper that’s actually a laptop computer, or maybe computers the size of skyscrapers to compute unimaginable things?

I don’t think people will change. Technologies will bring new avenues of expression, of course, but the content and the context will still always be people. Whatever computers look like in 50 years or however differently we connect to our vast catalogs of information, technology will always be a medium to be filled with human existence. Of course, maybe I’m biased because I’m one of those fleshy human things.

Now bring on the counterarguments with Cylons, the Borg, the Matrix, Ghost in the Shell

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About Will Bebout

My name is Will Bebout, and i grew up in the college town of Blacksburg, VA, home of Virginia Tech. I am a christian, I am a nerd, and I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in English at VT. I'm still figuring out what i want to do with my life, but I would like to get paid to do the nerdy things i enjoy doing anyway. Easy, right?