welcome to yet another edition of v!be.

issue# 12

Just a month or so back I was discussing with my friends on the omnipotence of google; the power it has over our lives. I had commented on the way we no longer directly type in web URL s, but prefer google to lead us to them, even for frequently visited websites - we make no effort to remember the URL, and in fact often fail to even bookmark them, trusting google to bail us out each time.

As a specific example I had cited the Indian Railways reservation enquiry website, which I found most of us always went to by searching "indian railways" in the google search bar; and lo! and behold the google popular queries January 2005 from India ( http://www.google.com/press/intl-zeitgeist.html#in ) - "indian railways" ranks second to "tsunami"!

This deliberate forgetfulness and dependence on external entities for basic information ( rather than keeping them in your head ) has spread like a social alzheimer. Most of us do not remember the phone numbers, contact addresses of even those most important to us beacuse we can always bank on storage provided by our mobile phones or PDAs. If you stop to think for a while you will find innumerable such examples; and that raises such questions as "What if google goes paid?", "What if I lose my mobile and PDA, would I be able to remember even my home number?" and the most ominous question - "What if all this technology came crashing down?"

At one time, I was a strong advocate against cramming up data in your head- what are books and computers and stuff for if not to store such information? Having a weak memory myself, I would mock avid quizzers asking them why anyone would want to memorize the name of the capital of Latvia when you could get that on a world map! But now, I sometimes wonder, have we gone too far in giving our brains a rest and relying on silicon chips?

-suman datta

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At 2:24 AM, Blogger arundhoti said...

what else are silicon chips for??? to give your brains rest! so, dont think so hard!:-)))

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Suraj Kamath said...

True, True. : ) I'm a gadget buff myself, which, coupled with an electronic engineering degree means I'll probably be trying to create more of this same technology. But I think what we want to do with chips is make it possible for people to keep more space in their heads for what should really matter. Unfortunately, they dump their attention into Tv and other grey cell numbing pastimes. Technology isn't an excuse not to use your brain, but lets not knock the mobile memory. I'm good with numbers, but there's no way I can keep 250 ten digit numbers in my head. :)


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