Humans Outsourcing Cognition to Their Personal Tech – What Does It Mean for the Future?

One of the fastest-growing self-help genres on Amazon happens to be books on how to improve your memory. Perhaps, people are getting older and they are noticing their memories aren’t working as well as they once did, and we do have folks reaching ages well above 90 in very large percentages. Then we have younger folks who notice their memories aren’t quite as good as they feel they should be. It’s not as if they are losing their minds, they just realize that often they can’t remember something, it’s much like that sensation of having the information on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t remember it. Okay so let’s talk about this for second shall we?

Over the years I’ve written a good number of articles on this topic, and surmised that one of the biggest challenges, and I think you’ll agree, is that our personal tech devices allow us to store information, and therefore we no longer have to memorize it. You see, while we are in school we spend a lot of time doing rote memorization, it is part of our education process, and it helps us increase our ability to remember things. However, out in the real world our personal tech devices store all of our important phone numbers, so we no longer have to memorize them. Some folks don’t even remember their own phone number, and if it wasn’t on business cards, their website, and other places which are quite handy, they would forget it altogether.

For instance, how many phone numbers can you remember of your closest personal friends and family? Think about that for a second. Now then, the very famous futurist, Ray Kurzweil, noted at the Singularity Institute Summit in 2012 that “we’ve outsourced some of our thinking abilities to technology, ” and “technology has expanded our minds” and offered us new ways to think about things.

In other words, because we don’t have to remember these things, our minds are able to use that memory capacity for other things. In the future, it was also predicted by those that the Singularity Institute that you would not have to query a search engine, because it would always be on in and running in the background, thus, it would automatically search things and put up the information perhaps in your augmented reality glasses onto a micro computer screen very close to your eye so you could see it.

This begs the question; are we also going to outsource our brain capacity, reasoning, and even our ability to ask questions in the future, just as we have done with our personal tech devices memorizing phone numbers? I believe this is a distinct possibility, and it would also have me asking another question; will we use distributive human brain power to solve large problems by utilizing all the brains on the Internet, or perhaps in an interlocked system where everyone is communicating by thought, through their implanted or embedded devices in the brain for communication?

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