Memory

I’ve been busy, too busy to stop and think. I’ve been reading day after day and answering all kinds of tasks. Some of them have been interesting and useful, some of them seem to be waste of time. At least this is what I think now.

I have worked in different kind of jobs and sometimes I have wondered am I ever going to need the skills I’ve learned? Always I have ended up noticing that nothing I’ve learned has been useless. Probably same goes for these tasks. I don’t need the knowledge right now but it is possible that within few weeks or months I think otherwise.

Last week I read interesting articles:  Memory Machines and Collective Memory: How We Remember the History of the Future of Technological Change by Audrey Watters and A Call for Critical Instructional Design by Sean Michael Morris.

I’ve always thought that technology has been created to help us. But it is possible that in the future machines will control us or at least our memory. After reading the first article I started to value our own capability of thinking and remembering, more than ever.

We differ from machines because at some point we get tired of adopting new things. We have to have breaks, eat, sleep and give our brain time to rest before we can memorize new things. Though we can’t fight against the fact that machines can store more information than we can, human mind is more powerful than any machine.

We can store all kinds files: photographs, e-mails, e-books etc. on our memory machines. The difference between us and machines is that we have emotional bond to all the things we remember. Some of them mean more to us, some of them are insignificant.

Feeling something includes also sensing and touching. It is nice to sit down with a box of old fainted photographs. Each of them tell us their story and bring memories back to life. Watching photos on a screen isn’t just the same. Reading an old letter is more emotional than reading any e-mail. Handwritten text tells so much more about the sender than any font or emoji used. Seeing old beloved book that you read when you were a child brings back so many memories that you probably remember many things you thought you had long forgotten. Try to make a machine do the same!

We can’t trust that we will always have our stored data available. It’s essential that we remember certain things and that we teach these things also to our children. Songs are a good example. You may listen to them and recognize them though you wouldn’t remember them entirely. But to be able to sing them you have to memorize them. Same goes for learning. You may remember parts of what you’ve learned but if you don’t know how to tie up the loose ends you’ll only have a huge amount of useless information. When you find out what to do and how to use the information you have, you have learned something and you can create something new. Then you can sing the song of your knowledge.

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