Computers are merely tiny file cabinets

Brain by _DJ_ on Flickr. File cabinet from Pixabay. Modifications and composition by me. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Not all the woes of our meat brains are not solved by our new silicone brains

Computers were originally built to facilitate file storage and file access. The former is about finding the right folder and putting files in there, the latter is about remembering which folder the files are in and pulling them out. This is no different than a file cabinet, except the file cabinet no longer exists outside of artisanal uses and the offices of lawyers.

For note-taking, concepts like tagging and search have made things better. The former allows you to put your notes in many folders all once, the latter removes the need for folders altogether and lets you search for the words directly. The issue then becomes recalling what words you actually wrote in the first place.

The modern computer seems to have expanded our memory storage space and the speed of access. We can store more notes and go through them quicker than ever before. However, it did not enhance our ability to search for words stuck at the tips of our tongues, nor did it remind us about the time we said the same thing before.


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