Digitizing Memory

I do it as much as anyone else. There’s a camera with me all the time and, much to my family’s dismay, I use it. I shoot short videos to embarrass them with later. My phone has a little program called Evernote that lets me store snippets of information for later retrieval, and it’s synched to my home and work machines. Lecture ideas, quotes, links – they’re all in there. There’s a Flickr account with tens of thousands of photos in it. I have a searchable database of images for the home life AND the work life. Don’t have a printed calendar, don’t know anyone’s phone number. And all of my instantaneous thoughts go into Twitter, which feeds Facebook and my personal blog in the end.

I have no tangible memory, it would seem And I’m not alone. John Sutter at CNN.com tried to record everything for a week with mixed results.

This is something I haven’t worried about yet, to be honest. All I tend to need are a few cues and my memories come back, but I wonder if that’s an ability that will atrophy over time. I think about my computer and the two things it really does – store information and process information. If my brain works in a similar way, and I stop storing information, what’s it going to process? Or will relieving it of storage responsibilities allow it to spend more time on processing?

Or maybe I did worry about it once and typed it somewhere, but now can’t remember where …

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