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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Memory: Who needs it?
A recent post on Techdirt discussed how machines were making our brains less functional.  Specifically, the younger generation ermembers less 'cause the machines remember things for them.  Here's my comment on the post in question:   

Freeing your brain from the burden of memory frees it up to do things like search and crosslink.  I accomplish more and faster with Google than I ever could with my memory.  I don't even bookmark pages I find, 'cause I know I can find them again later.

I used to remember phone numbers, now the only ones I remember are my work and my mobile, and only 'cause people ask me for them all the time.  I mean, who even uses a phone?  I'm more likely to remember an IP.

I don't need to remember things, I just need to remember processes.  I know how to find the information I need, and I know how to assemble that into a larger whole with the other things I find.  Short term memory has become medium-term: It's there just long enough to finish something, and if I need to come back to it a year later, I'm learning it all over again.  But fast!

I don't remember PHP commands.  I remember where I found them last time.  I don't remember phone numbers, I remember how to work my phone, and I intuit how to work someone else's if the need arises.  I don't remember passwords, my browser does that for me and I remember how to reset it if the browser breaks. 

It's all about the processes.
BLEARGH
This post was edited on 2009-10-06, 11:13 by NFG.
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Member since Sep 2007 · 11 posts
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I agree....but

you still have to remember the processes...which you wouldn't have had to remember had there been no google to search...and you have to remember something about what your searching for

and we still remember things like:
"I'm allergic to seafood"
"red light means stop"
"if I punch james, he gets angry"


This probably isn't really relevant but atleast I contributed! NFG says yay for Tigger!
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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I think it's far easier to remember processes than specifics.  This kind of goes back to a theory I had where the brain operates on two levels, one symbolic, one detailed.  A symbolic memory with very few specific details would allow daily life to proceed: the search-for-details low-level process, combined with a short- and medium-term detailed memory seems to offer the right combination.  At least for me.

Put another way, I remember how google works.  It's not a specific memory most of the time, it's more of a 'sense', an awareness of how google works.  I kind of intuit my way through a google search, refining the query in one or two steps to get the answers I need.

...Having trouble keeping the thought process focused here.

Basically yes, Tigger's right: You need a little memory to work out the process for finding the details.
BLEARGH
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Member since Sep 2007 · 131 posts · Location: Canberra
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I keep forgetting where in the forum this thread is  :nuts:
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Member since Oct 2007 · 30 posts · Location: Canberra
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Do you guys think memory is wasted on remembering game secrets, button combos and other game related things people remember? (weapon locations etc.)

Obviously it's not wasted if it is put to use every now and then, but what do you think about the concept of remembering the things you enjoy much better than those you don't?

Though in a second case, why is it i still remember 10 hit combos from Tekken 2, though not much of my trip to america (when i was the same age doing both)..? Because i don't like Tekken THAT much...  :-p And i had a really great and fun time on my trip overseas.

Does it just comes down to size/diffuculty of each memory? Or is it simplicity? Tekken is simply combos. My trip had a lot more things happening in a lot more places. Anyway, that said, i still remember lots of my trip, but the Tekken moves? I havn't played a Tekken game in years...

Wasted memory space?
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Repitition has a lot to do with it, I think.  When you do something 50 times - like a Tekken combo - you're going to remember it.  A trip to the States though is likely to be overwhelming and unique, a one-time memory that's all smushed together into a miasma of awesome with individual events you cannot separate.
BLEARGH
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