Smartphones, Memex and the soul of Vannevar Bush

“A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility”.

That’s a quote from the prophetic article of Vannevar Bush, “As you may think”.

He also wrote,

“A record if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted”.

The vision of Vannevar Bush was far fetched at his time. The article was published in 1945, a year which will forever be a black year for science. Though published a month earlier than the incidence. The incidence when a “little boy” would drop from the lap of the “no so gay Enola” on a city and would tarnish the human civilization forever.  The city would spawn disfigured, disease-ridden children to this day and would ultimately create my Mazda.

But I digress. We are talking about the vision of Vannebar Bush and his Memex. As it turns out, the history takes the responsibility of realization of dreams. We now have the hardware for such a device. Right, the present-day smartphones. They are ubiquitous, powerful, and cheap. But the hardware is not enough. We need software to drive these little devices to turn them into Memex. “Where are they?”, demands the soul of Vannevar Bush.


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