The Broken Brain and the Button

Before starting the Library Sciences Msc course, I had already read a few chapters of ‘Introduction to Information Science’ by David Bawden and Lyn Robinson. I found a couple of the chapters hard work to read, as a lot of the information was new and complex to me. On starting the course, I am finding the course very interesting.

Specifically, a part of the first lecture in the module ‘Digital Information Technologies and Architectures’ about ‘Finding the ‘I’ in Data’ fascinated me. A futurist Raymond Kurzweil, states in his book ‘The Singularity is Near’, that a human being’s memory is able to hold up to around 1.25 terabytes of functional memory. Before acquiring this piece of information, I had never stopped to think of human brains holding data. Then for some reason it made me think of my grandma, who is suffering from dementia and is losing her capacity to memorise things. I think I thought of her because she struggles to remember the information she already knows, which impacts her ability to ‘hold up to 1.25 terabytes of data’. So instead of her gaining new information and memories, she is losing information and memories.


On further reflection, I compared a brain to a hard disk, as when you’re on a computer you save data to the hard disk which also has memory. However, if the computer unfortunately receives a virus then the data in the memory can be affected, or even lost and so that data cannot be retrieved. Similarly, my grandma’s brain is like a hard disk infected with a virus as her brain is losing the data and unable to properly retrieve it.

Further on in the lecture the Amazon dash button was mentioned. It is a button linked to various products such as laundry powder, toiletries or pet food. When someone runs out of a product they press the button and it will arrive the next day. I have mixed views about these dash buttons. I admit they are convenient and easy to use, especially f517kzpphyjl-_sl1000_or people who lead busy lives. On the other hand, they somewhat worry me as they could encourage lazy behavior in that they could stop people going to the shops to physically buy the products. Also, it’s scary to think that the future may only involve people pressing buttons to acquire all their products and hardly ever leaving their homes (except maybe for work).

Having said that, a lot of people (including me) online shop, so maybe the future of pressing buttons to acquire products is
already upon us and has been for sometime.

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