"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
1 Augmenting Long-term Memory3 Augmenting Long-term MemoryAugmenting Long-term Memory2020-09-24Journal
Such stories are fascinating. Memory is fundamental to our thinking, and the notion of having a perfect memory is seductive. At the same time, many people feel ambivalent about their own memory. I've often heard people say “I don't have a very good memory”, sometimes sheepishly, sometimes apologetically, sometimes even defiantly.
Given how central memory is to our thinking, it's natural to ask whether computers can be used as tools to help improve our memory. This question turns out to be highly generative of good ideas, and pursuing it has led to many of the most important vision documents in the history of computing. One early example was Vannevar Bush's 1945 proposal\\ Vannevar Bush, As We May Think, The Atlantic (1945). for a mechanical memory extender, the memex. Bush wrote: