Friday, October 31, 2014

The Effect of Technology on Memory

The human mind has always been designed to store, from what we know, an unlimited amount of knowledge. So why is it that in modern day society, most of us cannot even seem to remember the 10-digit phone numbers of our closest loved ones? With the ubiquity of devices that are readily designed to store information, our brains are becoming more and more dependent on external drives to hold all sorts of information for us. These devices range from anything to the latest released smartphone all the way to simple ink on paper. Plato explains in his book, Phaedrus, that there are many reasons that using external drives to remember things has become harmful to humans. First off, it inhibits the ability for a person to actually “know” any piece of information. Information that is not retained within our brains cannot be information that we truly are knowledgeable of. If we are of constant reference to external devices for information, what is it that we truly know when put to the test of our own knowledge? Plato’s next reason for why other storage devices for information is not necessarily as successful as our brains is that actual objects of information can be transported all around to all sorts of audience without the correct context. The subjectivity of a reader’s mind when analyzing any sort of reading material is very apparent in the way that the reader’s perspectives and experiences affect the way that they view the particular reading. Therefore anything that is not directly spoken may very easily be taken out of context. However while Plato was talking about the main external source of keeping information, writing, modern day society includes myriads of possibilities of storing information that leads to even more issues.When things are posted on the internet, they are stored, in some sense permanently into the world wide web. This completely redefines the term "memory". Human memory stores what we depict to be important and there are several details which are not retained within our brains. However technology differs in the fact that they were designed almost to "never forget". This has led to leaks of private information and a whole new discussion over the invasion of personal information through technology. 

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