Reinventing Your Memory

// Posted by on 01/24/2013 (11:50 AM)

Looking at digital media and social networking today, it seems like human memory is almost unnecessary at times. Facebook remembers what day and year every photo was taken, and can usually even tell you where you were at the time. iPhones and other camera-phones have replaced (in many cases) the conventional disposable or digital camera, making it easier to document every moment. The need for post-its feels like its even decreasing, since now you can just take a picture to remember. With the technological advances, many human memories are accompanied by a picture, video, text message, or email to ensure you do not forget them. Forget what time you have a meeting next week? Not to worry, your phone will probably send you a reminder to make sure you don’t have to do any remembering (assuming you utilize your calendar function). “A Sense of Place,” an article in the February issue of Wired magazine, outlines the differences between retrospective and prospective memory. Retrospective memory deals more with the memorization of facts from the past, such as a peers names or hometowns. Prospective memory is trickier because it represents tasks, as exemplified by the calendar reminders that are necessary for some people to avoid slip-ups. Google is now searching for a way to further aid people in remembering the tasks that always seem to slip away until its too late. The tools that exist now are hardly perfect, based on GPS data that is not always accurate enough. The article “A Sense of Place” mentions that there is hope for a system that can remind you to remember your keys or have a “floating message” waiting outside the office telling you to go to the supermarket.

The idea of this seems somewhat surreal; in the way that conventional responsibility would be altered. If you forgot a meeting because there was no reminder, would it be your fault or the program’s fault? I would go as far as to say it almost adds another level of accountability whereby you have to ensure the system is running at 100% all the time. Unless someone reveals that the human memory is physically overextended, impairing ones ability to remember more, I think conventional memory and sticky notes is still the best method for making it anywhere.

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Sam said...

I still write down all of my REALLY important things on paper…

// 01/27/2013 at 8:39 pm

Jorien said...

I agree with you, I do not want to put all my appointments in a digital agenda. You never know when your device won’t start again or has other problems. Even though there are so many possibilities to keep track of your work with technology I think it is safer to write it on paper.
However, it might be good for business people who might travel to different places to be able to have access to their agenda and files that they stored online.
I did actually read about google trying to help you remember things via GPS, which seems like a nice idea. The old school version would probably be thinking about your ‘reminder’ and writing a cross on your hand in order to remind you, so whenever you look at your hand you remind yourself again. I think the GPS will help trigger the mind, whenever you walk in a certain place you are reminded about the event you had to attend.

// 01/30/2013 at 8:02 pm