Transactive Memory Applies Technology to Free Up Your Mind
Microsoft, Facebook and other companies are building similar technologies.
These knowledge machines will work day and night identifying information online, figuring out if they’re new pieces of information or whether they support or oppose existing knowledge in the system.Meanwhile, these knowledge engines will be made available to everyone instantly via natural language queries through our wearable devices and mobile phones. The Knowledge Vault type systems will keep getting better and faster. The wearable and mobile devices will be built into our cars, homes, clothing, jewelry and elsewhere. They will be everywhere. The price of these devices will plummet and their speed will just keep increasing. As a result of all these trends, it’s fair to say that most general knowledge will be rendered obsolete. There will be no need to remember things and learn facts, for the most part. This will be good and bad, of course—good because we can spend our educations on learning how to think and build things as well as understand concepts without spending all our time memorizing formulas, dates, names or facts of all kinds. Because those will always be right there with us at all times, available for instant recall. In some ways, this transformation of how the human mind works through the outsourcing and collectivization of human memory is probably the most profound change technology will bring to our species in our lifetimes. And the only way to avoid being assimilated, to paraphrase my professor, is to “throw away your smartphone.” But we both know that’s not going to happen.