As We May Think

“ Consider a future device … in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized then that it may be consulted with exceeding accelerate and tractability. It is an enlarge intimate append to his memory. ” As Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. Vannevar Bush has coordinated the activities of some six thousand leading American scientists in the application of science to warfare. In this significant article he holds up an incentive for scientists when the fighting has ceased. He urges that men of science should then turn to the massive task of making more accessible our bewildering store of knowledge. For years inventions have extended man’s physical powers rather than the powers of his mind. Trip hammers that multiply the fists, microscopes that sharpen the eye, and engines of destruction and detection are new results, but not the end results, of modern science. Now, says Dr. Bush, instruments are at hand which, if properly developed, will give man access to and command over the inherited knowledge of the ages. The perfection of these pacific instruments should be the first objective of our scientists as they emerge from their war work. Like Emerson’s famous address of 1837 on “The American Scholar,” this paper by Dr. Bush calls for a new relationship between thinking man and the sum of our knowledge. — THE EDITOR This has not been a scientist ‘s war ; it has been a war in which all have had a part. The scientists, burying their old master competition in the demand of a common campaign, have shared greatly and learned much. It has been exhilarating to work in effective partnership. now, for many, this appears to be approaching an end. What are the scientists to do following ?

Reading: As We May Think

For the biologists, and peculiarly for the aesculapian scientists, there can be little indecisiveness, for their war has hardly required them to leave the old paths. many indeed have been able to carry on their war research in their companion peacetime laboratories. Their objectives remain much the lapp. It is the physicists who have been thrown most violently off stride, who have left academician pursuits for the form of strange destructive gadgets, who have had to devise modern methods for their unanticipated assignments. They have done their part on the devices that made it potential to turn back the foe, have worked in combine effort with the physicists of our allies. They have felt within themselves the stir of accomplishment. They have been part of a great team. immediately, as peace approaches, one asks where they will find objectives worthy of their best.


Of what lasting benefit has been man ‘s consumption of science and of the new instruments which his research brought into being ? First, they have increased his control of his material environment. They have improved his food, his dress, his shelter ; they have increased his security and released him partially from the bondage of bare being. They have given him increased cognition of his own biological processes thus that he has had a progressive freedom from disease and an increased bridge of life. They are illuminating the interactions of his physiologic and psychological functions, giving the promise of an improved genial health. skill has provided the swiftest communication between individuals ; it has provided a phonograph record of ideas and has enabled world to manipulate and to make extracts from that record therefore that cognition evolves and endures throughout the liveliness of a race rather than that of an individual. There is a growing batch of inquiry. But there is increased testify that we are being bogged down today as specialization extends. The detective is staggered by the findings and conclusions of thousands of other workers—conclusions which he can not find prison term to grasp, much less to remember, as they appear. Yet specialization becomes increasingly necessary for advance, and the effort to bridge between disciplines is correspondingly superficial. professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing the results of research are generations old and by nowadays are wholly inadequate for their purpose. If the aggregate time spent in writing scholarly works and in reading them could be evaluated, the ratio between these amounts of clock time might good be startling. Those who scrupulously attempt to keep abreast of stream think, tied in restricted fields, by close and continuous reading might well shy away from an examination calculated to show how much of the previous calendar month ‘s efforts could be produced on call. Mendel ‘s concept of the laws of genetics was lost to the global for a generation because his publication did not reach the few who were adequate to of grasping and extending it ; and this sort of catastrophe is undoubtedly being repeated all about us, as rightfully significant attainments become lost in the mass of the inconsequential. The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present day interests, but preferably that publication has been extended far beyond our give ability to make substantial use of the record. The sum of human experience is being expanded at a exceeding rate, and the mean we use for threading through the attendant maze to the momentarily crucial token is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships. But there are signs of a change as new and brawny instrumentalities come into use. Photocells capable of seeing things in a physical feel, advanced photography which can record what is seen or evening what is not, thermionic tubes capable of controlling potent forces under the guidance of less might than a mosquito uses to vibrate his wings, cathode radiate tubes rendering visible an occurrence so brief that by comparison a microsecond is a long clock time, relay combinations which will carry out involved sequences of movements more faithfully than any homo operator and thousands of times as fast—there are batch of mechanical aids with which to effect a transformation in scientific records. Two centuries ago Leibnitz invented a forecast car which embodied most of the essential features of recent keyboard devices, but it could not then come into use. The economics of the situation were against it : the labor involved in constructing it, before the days of mass production, exceeded the labor to be saved by its use, since all it could accomplish could be duplicated by sufficient manipulation of pencil and newspaper. furthermore, it would have been discipline to frequent breakdown, so that it could not have been depended upon ; for at that fourth dimension and long after, complexity and undependability were synonymous. Babbage, even with signally generous support for his clock time, could not produce his bang-up arithmetical car. His theme was sound enough, but structure and maintenance costs were then besides heavy. Had a Pharaoh been given detailed and explicit designs of an automobile, and had he understood them completely, it would have taxed the resources of his kingdom to have fashioned the thousands of parts for a single cable car, and that car would have broken down on the inaugural travel to Giza. Machines with interchangeable parts can nowadays be constructed with great economy of attempt. In cattiness of much complexity, they perform faithfully. Witness the humble typewriter, or the movie camera, or the car. electrical contacts have ceased to stick when thoroughly sympathize. Note the automatic telephone substitution, which has hundreds of thousands of such contacts, and yet is dependable. A spider web of metallic element, sealed in a thin glass container, a wire heated to brilliant glow, in short, the thermionic pipe of radio sets, is made by the hundred million, tossed about in packages, plugged into sockets—and it works ! Its cobweb parts, the accurate location and alliance involved in its construction, would have occupied a master craftsman of the club for months ; now it is built for thirty cents. The world has arrived at an age of brassy building complex devices of great dependability ; and something is bound to come of it.


A record if it is to be utilitarian to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted. today we make the record conventionally by writing and photography, followed by print ; but we besides record on film, on wax disks, and on magnetic wires. evening if absolutely new commemorate procedures do not appear, these present ones are surely in the process of modification and elongation. surely progress in photography is not going to stop. Faster material and lenses, more automatic cameras, finer-grained sensible compounds to allow an propagation of the minicamera mind, are all at hand. Let us project this course ahead to a legitimate, if not inevitable, result. The camera hound of the future wears on his brow a collocate a little larger than a walnut. It takes pictures 3 millimeters square, belated to be projected or enlarged, which after all involves lone a divisor of 10 beyond present practice. The lens is of universal focus, down to any distance accommodated by the unaided eye, merely because it is of inadequate focal length. There is a built-in photoelectric cell on the walnut such as we immediately have on at least one television camera, which automatically adjusts exposure for a broad range of clarification. There is film in the walnut for a hundred exposures, and the spring for operating its shutter and shifting its film is wound once for all when the film trot is inserted. It produces its leave in entire color. It may good be stereoscopic, and record with two space glass eyes, for striking improvements in stereoscopic technique are good around the corner. The cord which trips its shutter may reach down a man ‘s sleeve within easy reach of his fingers. A quick squash, and the word picture is taken. On a pair of ordinary glasses is a feather of ticket lines near the top of one lens, where it is out of the way of ordinary sight. When an object appears in that square, it is lined up for its movie. As the scientist of the future moves about the lab or the airfield, every time he looks at something worthy of the record, he trips the shutter and in it goes, without even an audible cluck. Is this all fantastic ? The alone fantastic thing about it is the idea of making as many pictures as would result from its use. Will there be dry photography ? It is already here in two forms. When Brady made his Civil War pictures, the plate had to be wet at the time of exposure. now it has to be wet during growth rather. In the future possibly it need not be wetted at all. There have long been films impregnated with diazo dyes which form a visualize without development, so that it is already there a soon as the camera has been operated. An vulnerability to ammonia gas destroys the unexposed dye, and the picture can then be taken out into the light and examined. The march is now dull, but person may speed it up, and it has no grain difficulties such as now keep photographic researchers interfering. Often it would be advantageous to be able to snap the television camera and to look at the picture immediately. Another process nowadays in habit is besides slow, and more or less awkward. For fifty years impregnated papers have been used which turn dark at every point where an electric contact touches them, by reason of the chemical change thus produced in an tincture of iodine compound included in the composition. They have been used to make records, for a pointer moving across them can leave a trail behind. If the electric likely on the pointer is varied as it moves, the line becomes easy or dark in accordance with the potential. This outline is now used in facsimile infection. The pointer draws a jell of closely spaced lines across the paper one after another. As it moves, its electric potential is varied in accord with a varying current received over wires from a distant station, where these variations are produced by a photoelectric cell which is similarly scanning a picture. At every instant the darkness of the line being puff is made equal to the darkness of the period on the video being observed by the photoelectric cell. thus, when the whole photograph has been covered, a replica appears at the receiving end. A fit itself can be just arsenic well looked over line by tune by the photoelectric cell in this way as can a photograph of the scene. This hale apparatus constitutes a camera, with the add feature, which can be dispensed with if desired, of making its movie at a distance. It is behind, and the word picture is poor in detail. hush, it does give another process of dry photography, in which the picture is finished ampere soon as it is taken. It would be a brave man who would predict that such a work will constantly remain awkward, behind, and faulty in detail. television equipment today transmits sixteen reasonably good pictures a second, and it involves merely two essential differences from the serve described above. For one, the phonograph record is made by a moving beam of electrons preferably than a moving cursor, for the reason that an electron glow can sweep across the word picture identical quickly indeed. The other deviation involves merely the habit of a screen which glows momentarily when the electrons hit, rather than a chemically treat paper or film which is permanently altered. This amphetamine is necessary in television receiver, for movement pictures preferably than stills are the aim. Use chemically treated film in place of the glow screen, allow the apparatus to transmit one picture only rather than a succession, and a rapid television camera for dry photography results. The treat film needs to be far faster in action than present examples, but it credibly could be. More serious is the protest that this dodge would involve putting the film inside a vacuum chamber, for electron beams behave normally entirely in such a rarefy environment. This trouble could be avoided by allowing the electron beam to play on one slope of a partition, and by pressing the film against the other side, if this division were such as to allow the electrons to go through perpendicular to its come on, and to prevent them from spreading out sideways. such partitions, in petroleum imprint, could surely be constructed, and they will hardly hold up the general development. Like dry photography, microphotography hush has a long way to go. The basic system of reducing the size of the record, and examining it by projection rather than directly, has possibilities excessively great to be ignored. The combination of ocular projection and photographic reduction is already producing some results in microfilm for scholarly purposes, and the potentialities are highly indicative. today, with microfilm, reductions by a linear factor of 20 can be employed and still produce fully clearness when the fabric is re-enlarged for examination. The limits are set by the coarseness of the film, the excellence of the optical system, and the efficiency of the unhorse sources employed. All of these are quickly improving. Assume a linear ratio of 100 for future practice. Consider film of the like thickness as composition, although thin film will surely be available. even under these conditions there would be a total factor of 10,000 between the bulk of the ordinary record on books, and its microfilm replica. The Encyclop æ dia Britannica could be reduced to the book of a matchbox. A library of a million volumes could be compressed into one end of a desk. If the homo rush has produced since the invention of movable type a entire record, in the human body of magazines, newspapers, books, tracts, advertising blurbs, symmetry, having a volume corresponding to a billion books, the whole affair, assembled and compressed, could be lugged off in a moving vanguard. Mere compression, of naturally, is not enough ; one needs not only to make and store a record but besides be able to consult it, and this aspect of the topic comes late. even the mod great library is not by and large consulted ; it is nibbled at by a few. compression is crucial, however, when it comes to costs. The material for the microfilm Britannica would cost a nickel, and it could be mailed anywhere for a penny. What would it cost to print a million copies ? To print a sheet of newspaper, in a big version, costs a modest fraction of a penny. The integral material of the Britannica in reduce microfilm mannequin would go on a plane eight and one-half by football team inches. Once it is available, with the photographic reproduction methods of the future, duplicates in big quantities could credibly be turned out for a penny each beyond the monetary value of materials. The homework of the original copy ? That introduces the future expression of the subject.


To make the record, we now push a pencil or tap a typewriter. then comes the summons of digestion and correction, followed by an intricate process of typesetting, printing, and distribution. To consider the first stage of the routine, will the generator of the future discontinue write by hand or typewriter and talk directly to the criminal record ? He does then indirectly, by talking to a stenographer or a wax cylinder ; but the elements are all present if he wishes to have his lecture directly produce a type record. All he needs to do is to take advantage of existing mechanisms and to alter his speech. At a recent World Fair a machine called a Voder was shown. A girl stroked its keys and it emitted recognizable speech. No human vocal chords entered into the routine at any point ; the keys just combined some electrically produced vibrations and passed these on to a loud-speaker. In the Bell Laboratories there is the converse of this machine, called a Vocoder. The loudspeaker is replaced by a microphone, which picks up sound. Speak to it, and the comparable keys move. This may be one component of the contend system. The early element is found in the stenotype, that slightly disconcerting device encountered normally at public meetings. A female child strokes its keys languidly and looks about the board and sometimes at the loudspeaker with a disquieting gaze. From it emerges a type leach which records in a phonetically simplified language a record of what the speaker is supposed to have said. Later this plunder is retyped into ordinary terminology, for in its nascent form it is apprehensible only to the initiated. Combine these two elements, let the Vocoder run the stenotype, and the result is a machine which types when talked to. Our confront languages are not specially adapted to this sort of mechanization, it is true. It is foreign that the inventors of universal languages have not seized upon the idea of producing one which better fitted the technique for transmitting and recording lecture. mechanization may even force the issue, particularly in the scientific discipline ; whereupon scientific jargon would become still less apprehensible to the layman. One can immediately picture a future investigator in his testing ground. His hands are free, and he is not anchored. As he moves about and observes, he photographs and comments. Time is mechanically recorded to tie the two records together. If he goes into the field, he may be connected by radio to his fipple flute. As he ponders over his notes in the even, he again talks his comments into the record. His type record, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as his photograph, may both be in miniature, so that he projects them for examination. a lot needs to occur, however, between the collection of data and observations, the origin of parallel material from the existing criminal record, and the final examination insertion of modern substantial into the cosmopolitan consistency of the common record. For suppurate thought there is no mechanical substitute. But creative think and basically repetitive think are very different things. For the latter there are, and may be, mighty mechanical aids. Adding a column of figures is a insistent think work, and it was long ago properly relegated to the machine. True, the machine is sometimes controlled by a keyboard, and think of a kind enters in reading the figures and poking the correspond keys, but even this is evitable. Machines have been made which will read type figures by photocells and then depress the comparable keys ; these are combinations of photocells for scanning the type, electric circuits for sorting the attendant variations, and relay circuits for interpreting the result into the action of solenoids to pull the keys down. All this complication is needed because of the bungling way in which we have learned to write figures. If we recorded them positionally, merely by the shape of a fixed of dots on a card, the automatic rifle read mechanism would become relatively bare. In fact if the dots are holes, we have the punched-card machine long ago produced by Hollorith for the purposes of the census, and now used throughout occupation. Some types of complex businesses could hardly operate without these machines. lend is lone one process. To perform arithmetical calculation involves besides subtraction, multiplication, and division, and in summation some method for temp repositing of results, removal from storage for far handling, and record of final results by printing. Machines for these purposes are now of two types : keyboard machines for report and the like, manually controlled for the insertion of data, and normally mechanically controlled arsenic far as the sequence of operations is concerned ; and punched-card machines in which separate operations are normally delegated to a serial of machines, and the cards then transferred bodily from one to another. Both forms are identical utilitarian ; but deoxyadenosine monophosphate far as complex computations are concerned, both are still in embryo. rapid electric count appeared soon after the physicists found it desirable to count cosmic rays. For their own purposes the physicists promptly constructed thermionic-tube equipment able of counting electric impulses at the pace of 100,000 a second. The advanced arithmetical machines of the future will be electric in nature, and they will perform at 100 times introduce speeds, or more. furthermore, they will be far more versatile than salute commercial machines, so that they may promptly be adapted for a wide variety of operations. They will be controlled by a manipulate card or film, they will select their own data and manipulate it in accordance with the instructions thus inserted, they will perform complex arithmetical computations at extremely high speeds, and they will record results in such human body as to be readily available for distribution or for later far manipulation. such machines will have enormous appetites. One of them will take instructions and data from a whole roomful of girls armed with elementary key board punches, and will deliver sheets of calculate results every few minutes. There will always be batch of things to compute in the detail affairs of millions of people doing complicate things.


The insistent processes of remember are not confined however, to matters of arithmetic and statistics. In fact, every time one combines and records facts in accord with established coherent processes, the creative aspect of think is concerned lone with the excerpt of the data and the procedure to be employed and the handling thereafter is insistent in nature and hence a fit matter to be relegated to the machine. not so much has been done along these lines, beyond the bounds of arithmetic, as might be done, chiefly because of the economics of the situation. The needs of business and the extensive market obviously waiting, assured the second coming of mass-produced arithmetical machines just american samoa soon as production methods were sufficiently advanced.

With machines for promote analysis no such situation existed ; for there was and is no across-the-board market ; the users of advanced methods of manipulating data are a very belittled part of the population. There are, however, machines for solving differential equations—and functional and integral equations, for that matter. There are many special machines, such as the harmonic synthesist which predicts the tides. There will be many more, appearing surely first in the hands of the scientist and in small numbers. If scientific reason were limited to the legitimate processes of arithmetic, we should not get far in our understanding of the physical world. One might a well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability. The abacus, with its beads string on twin wires, led the Arabs to positional count and the concept of zero many centuries before the pillow of the universe ; and it was a utilitarian tool—so useful that it still exists. It is a army for the liberation of rwanda war cry from the abacus to the mod keyboard account machine. It will be an peer step to the arithmetical machine of the future. But even this fresh machine will not take the scientist where he needs to go. Relief must be secured from arduous detail handling of higher mathematics as well, if the users of it are to free their brains for something more than insistent detail transformations in accord with established rules. A mathematician is not a man who can readily manipulate figures ; frequently he can not. He is not flush a man who can readily perform the transformations of equations by the use of calculus. He is chiefly an individual who is skilled in the use of symbolic logic on a high plane, and specially he is a homo of intuitive opinion in the choice of the manipulative processes he employs. All else he should be able to turn over to his mechanism, merely equally confidently as he turns over the motivate of his car to the intricate mechanism under the hood. entirely then will mathematics be practically effective in bringing the growing cognition of atomistics to the useful solution of the promote problems of chemistry, metallurgy, and biota. For this reason there placid come more machines to handle promote mathematics for the scientist. Some of them will be sufficiently bizarre to suit the most fastidious connoisseur of the present artifacts of civilization.


The scientist, however, is not the only person who manipulates data and examines the world about him by the use of legitimate processes, although he sometimes preserves this appearance by adopting into the flock anyone who becomes legitimate, much in the manner in which a british labor drawing card is elevated to knighthood. Whenever coherent processes of think are employed—that is, whenever opinion for a time runs along an accepted groove—there is an opportunity for the machine. conventional logic used to be a acute musical instrument in the hands of the teacher in his trying of students ‘ souls. It is promptly possible to construct a machine which will manipulate premises in accord with ball logic, plainly by the apt practice of relay circuits. Put a bent of premises into such a device and turn the crank, and it will readily pass out conclusion after conclusion, all in accordance with logical law, and with no more slips than would be expected of a keyboard adding machine. Logic can become enormously unmanageable, and it would undoubtedly be well to produce more assurance in its use. The machines for higher analysis have normally been equation solvers. Ideas are beginning to appear for equality transformers, which will rearrange the relationship expressed by an equation in accord with hard-and-fast and rather boost logic. Progress is inhibited by the extremely crude way in which mathematicians express their relationships. They employ a symbolism which grew like Topsy and has little consistency ; a foreign fact in that most logical field. A new symbolism, probably positional, must obviously precede the reduction of mathematical transformations to machine processes. then, on beyond the hard-and-fast logic of the mathematician, lies the application of logic in everyday affairs. We may some day click off arguments on a machine with the lapp assurance that we now enter sales on a cash register. But the machine of logic will not look like a cash register, even of the streamlined model. so much for the manipulation of ideas and their interpolation into the read. therefore far we seem to be worse off than before—for we can enormously extend the record ; even even in its present bulk we can hardly consult it. This is a much larger count than merely the extraction of data for the purposes of scientific inquiry ; it involves the entire process by which man profits by his inheritance of acquired cognition. The prime action of manipulation is choice, and hera we are halting indeed. There may be millions of fine thoughts, and the report of the have on which they are based, all encased within stone walls of acceptable architectural shape ; but if the scholar can get at merely one a workweek by diligent search, his syntheses are not probably to keep up with the current scene. choice, in this broad smell, is a stone adz in the hands of a cabinetmaker. Yet, in a narrow common sense and in early areas, something has already been done mechanically on survival. The personnel department military officer of a factory drops a push-down storage of a few thousand employee cards into a choose machine, sets a code in accord with an established conventionality, and produces in a short meter a list of all employees who live in Trenton and know Spanish. even such devices are much besides slow when it comes, for model, to matching a sic of fingerprints with one of five million on file. Selection devices of this sort will soon be speeded up from their present rate of reviewing data at a few hundred a minute. By the function of photocells and microfilm they will survey items at the pace of a thousand a second, and will print out duplicates of those selected. This serve, however, is childlike survival : it proceeds by examining in turn every one of a big set of items, and by picking out those which have certain specified characteristics. There is another form of excerpt best illustrated by the automatic telephone exchange. You dial a issue and the car selects and connects good one of a million possible stations. It does not run over them all. It pays attention only to a class given by a first digit, then only to a subclass of this given by the second digit, and thus on ; and frankincense proceeds quickly and about unerringly to the selected post. It requires a few seconds to make the choice, although the process could be speeded up if increased accelerate were economically warranted. If necessary, it could be made extremely firm by substituting thermionic-tube switch for mechanical switch over, so that the wax survival could be made in one one-hundredth of a second. No matchless would wish to spend the money necessity to make this deepen in the telephone system, but the general estimate is applicable elsewhere. Take the pedestrian trouble of the great department storehouse. Every time a charge sale is made, there are a number of things to be done. The inventory needs to be revised, the salesman needs to be given credit rating for the sale, the general accounts need an entry, and, most important, the customer needs to be charged. A cardinal records device has been developed in which much of this workplace is done handily. The salesman places on a stand the customer ‘s designation batting order, his own card, and the calling card taken from the article sold—all punched cards. When he pulls a lever, contacts are made through the holes, machinery at a central compass point makes the necessity computations and entries, and the proper reception is printed for the salesman to pass to the customer. But there may be ten thousand charge customers doing business with the shop, and before the full operation can be completed person has to select the correct card and insert it at the cardinal position. nowadays rapid choice can slide merely the proper card into stead in an instantaneous or two, and return it subsequently. Another trouble occurs, however. person must read a total on the card, so that the machine can add its calculate token to it. conceivably the cards might be of the dry photography character I have described. Existing totals could then be read by photoelectric cell, and the newfangled sum entered by an electron shine. The cards may be in miniature, so that they occupy little space. They must move cursorily. They need not be transferred far, but merely into situation so that the photoelectric cell and registrar can operate on them. positional dots can enter the data. At the end of the month a machine can promptly be made to read these and to print an ordinary bill. With tube excerpt, in which no mechanical parts are involved in the switches, little meter need be occupied in bringing the correct menu into use—a second gear should suffice for the integral operation. The wholly record on the card may be made by magnetic dots on a steel sheet if desired, alternatively of dots to be observed optically, following the outline by which Poulsen long ago put lecture on a magnetic wire. This method has the advantage of ease and ease of erasure. By using photography, however one can arrange to project the read in elaborate form and at a outdistance by using the work coarse in television equipment. One can consider rapid choice of this form, and distant protrusion for early purposes. To be able to key one tabloid of a million before an hustler in a second base or two, with the possibility of then adding notes thereto, is implicative in many ways. It might even be of use in libraries, but that is another floor. At any rate, there are now some matter to combinations possible. One might, for example, talk to a microphone, in the manner described in connection with the address controlled typewriter, and frankincense make his selections. It would surely beat the common file salesclerk.


The real heart of the count of choice, however, goes deeper than a lag in the adoption of mechanisms by libraries, or a miss of development of devices for their function. Our awkwardness in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality of systems of indexing. When data of any screen are placed in storage, they are filed alphabetically or numerically, and information is found ( when it is ) by tracing it down from subclass to subclass. It can be in lone one set, unless duplicates are used ; one has to have rules as to which path will locate it, and the rules are cumbersome. Having found one item, furthermore, one has to emerge from the organization and re-enter on a new path. The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its appreciation, it snaps instantaneously to the adjacent that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accord with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course ; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not in full permanent, memory is ephemeral. Yet the speed of action, the elaborateness of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is amazing beyond all else in nature. man can not hope in full to duplicate this mental process artificially, but he surely ought to be able to learn from it. In minor ways he may even improve, for his records have proportional permanence. The beginning estimate, however, to be drawn from the analogy concerns excerpt. Selection by association, quite than indexing, may so far be mechanized. One can not hope therefore to equal the travel rapidly and tractability with which the take care follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in involve to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from memory. Consider a future device for person consumption, which is a kind of mechanized individual file and library. It needs a name, and, to coin one at random, “ memex ” will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and tractability. It is an enlarge intimate addendum to his memory. It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the objet d’art of furniture at which he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient read. There is a keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks like an ordinary desk. In one goal is the store material. The matter of bulk is well taken care of by improved microfilm. only a small share of the inside of the memex is devoted to storage, the rest to mechanism. Yet if the drug user insert 5000 pages of material a day it would take him hundreds of years to fill the depository, so he can be rake and enter material freely. Most of the memex contents are purchased on microfilm quick for insertion. Books of all sorts, pictures, current periodicals, newspapers, are therefore obtained and dropped into place. Business agreement takes the lapp path. And there is provision for aim introduction. On the top of the memex is a crystalline platen. On this are placed longhand notes, photograph, memo, all sorts of things. When one is in invest, the depression of a pry causes it to be photographed onto the future blank space in a incision of the memex film, dry photography being employed. There is, of path, provision for consultation of the record by the usual scheme of indexing. If the drug user wishes to consult a certain book, he taps its code on the keyboard, and the title page of the record promptly appears before him, projected onto one of his viewing positions. Frequently-used codes are mnemonic, therefore that he seldom consults his code book ; but when he does, a single pat of a samara projects it for his function. furthermore, he has auxiliary levers. On deflecting one of these levers to the right he runs through the book before him, each page in plow being projected at a focal ratio which just allows a recognizing glance at each. If he deflects it further to the right, he steps through the book 10 pages at a clock time ; even further at 100 pages at a clock time. deflection to the left gives him the same control backwards. A especial button transfers him immediately to the first page of the exponent. Any given reserve of his library can therefore be called up and consulted with far greater facility than if it were taken from a ledge. As he has several protrusion positions, he can leave one item in position while he calls up another. He can add borderline notes and comments, taking advantage of one possible type of dry photography, and it could even be arranged therefore that he can do this by a stylus schema, such as is immediately employed in the telautograph seen in railroad waiting rooms, just as though he had the physical page before him.


All this is conventional, except for the project forward of contemporary mechanisms and gadgetry. It affords an immediate step, however, to associative index, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any token may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the all-important feature of the memex. The march of tying two items together is the crucial thing. When the drug user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard. Before him are the two items to be joined, projected onto adjacent viewing positions. At the penetrate of each there are a phone number of blank code spaces, and a arrow is set to indicate one of these on each item. The exploiter taps a single key, and the items are permanently joined. In each code space appears the code give voice. Out of watch, but besides in the code space, is inserted a put of dots for photoelectric cell view ; and on each item these dots by their positions designate the index issue of the other item. thereafter, at any time, when one of these items is in view, the other can be immediately recalled merely by tapping a button below the correspond code quad. furthermore, when numerous items have been therefore joined together to form a trail, they can be reviewed in go, quickly or slowly, by deflecting a lever like that used for turning the pages of a book. It is precisely as though the physical items had been gathered together from wide separated sources and bound together to form a new book. It is more than this, for any item can be joined into numerous trails. The owner of the memex, let us say, is concern in the origin and properties of the bow and arrow. specifically he is studying why the shortstop Turkish bow was apparently superior to the English long crouch in the skirmishes of the Crusades. He has dozens of possibly apposite books and articles in his memex. First he runs through an encyclopedia, finds an interesting but sketchy article, leaves it projected. adjacent, in a history, he finds another apposite detail, and ties the two together. therefore he goes, building a trail of many items. occasionally he inserts a gloss of his own, either linking it into the main drag or joining it by a side trail to a particular detail. When it becomes discernible that the elastic properties of available materials had a bang-up deal to do with the bow, he branches off on a side trail which takes him through textbooks on elasticity and tables of physical constants. He inserts a page of longhand analysis of his own. thus he builds a trail of his interest through the tangle of materials available to him. And his trails do not fade. several years former, his talk with a friend turns to the thwart ways in which a people resist innovations, even of full of life interest. He has an exercise, in the fact that the rape Europeans still failed to adopt the turkish bow. In fact he has a trail on it. A contact brings up the code book. Tapping a few keys projects the head of the lead. A lever runs through it at will, stopping at concern items, going off on side excursions. It is an interest chase, apposite to the discussion. So he sets a reproducer in natural process, photographs the whole drag out, and passes it to his ally for insertion in his own memex, there to be linked into the more general trail.


wholly new forms of encyclopedia will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the consort opinions and decisions of his hale experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities. The patent lawyer has on call the millions of issue patents, with familiar trails to every bespeak of his node ‘s interest. The doctor, puzzled by a patient ‘s reactions, strikes the lead established in studying an earlier like sheath, and runs quickly through analogous subject histories, with side references to the classics for the pertinent human body and histology. The chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound, has all the chemical literature before him in his lab, with trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to their forcible and chemical behavior. The historian, with a huge chronological account of a people, parallels it with a cut trail which stops lone on the salient items, and can follow at any fourth dimension contemporary trails which lead him all over culture at a finical era. There is a new profession of lead blazers, those who find delight in the job of establishing utilitarian trails through the enormous aggregate of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the earth ‘s record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected. thus science may implement the ways in which man produces, stores, and consults the read of the subspecies. It might be striking to outline the instrumentalities of the future more spectacularly, quite than to stick closely to methods and elements now known and undergo rapid development, as has been done here. technical difficulties of all sorts have been ignored, surely, but besides ignored are means as so far stranger which may come any day to accelerate technical advance arsenic violently as did the advent of the thermionic pipe. In order that the painting may not be excessively commonplace, by reason of sticking to contemporary patterns, it may be well to mention one such possibility, not to prophesy but merely to suggest, for prophecy based on extension of the known has substance, while prophecy founded on the nameless is lone a doubly involved guess. All our steps in creating or absorbing material of the commemorate proceed through one of the senses—the haptic when we touch keys, the oral when we speak or listen, the ocular when we read. Is it not possible that some sidereal day the path may be established more immediately ? We know that when the eye sees, all the attendant information is transmitted to the mind by means of electrical vibrations in the channel of the eye heart. This is an claim analogy with the electrical vibrations which occur in the cable of a television set : they convey the painting from the photocells which see it to the radio vector from which it is broadcast. We know further that if we can approach that cable with the proper instruments, we do not need to touch it ; we can pick up those vibrations by electrical induction and frankincense detect and reproduce the view which is being transmitted, fair as a telephone electrify may be tapped for its message. The impulses which flow in the arm nerves of a typist convey to her fingers the translated information which reaches her eye or ear, in holy order that the fingers may be caused to strike the proper keys. Might not these currents be intercepted, either in the original form in which information is conveyed to the genius, or in the wonderfully transform imprint in which they then proceed to the hand ? By bone conduction we already introduce sounds : into the steel channels of the deaf in orderliness that they may hear. Is it not possible that we may learn to introduce them without the present awkwardness of beginning transforming electrical vibrations to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism promptly transforms back to the electrical form ? With a couple of electrodes on the skull the encephalograph now produces pen-and-ink traces which bear some relative to the electrical phenomenon going on in the mind itself. True, the record is unintelligible, except as it points out sealed megascopic malfunction of the cerebral mechanism ; but who would now place bounds on where such a thing may lead ? In the outside world, all forms of intelligence whether of sound or view, have been reduced to the class of varying currents in an electric lap in ordering that they may be transmitted. Inside the human frame precisely the lapp sort of action occurs. Must we constantly transform to mechanical movements in order to proceed from one electric phenomenon to another ? It is a suggestive think, but it barely warrants prediction without losing touch with world and immediacy.

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Presumably man ‘s emotional state should be elevated if he can better review his louche past and analyze more wholly and objectively his present problems. He has built a refinement so complex that he needs to mechanize his records more fully if he is to push his experiment to its logical ending and not merely become bogged down part way there by overtaxing his limit memory. His excursions may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at bridge player, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove crucial. The applications of skill have built man a well-supplied family, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with barbarous weapons. They may so far allow him truly to encompass the capital criminal record and to grow in the wisdom of race know. He may perish in battle before he learns to wield that commemorate for his dependable good. Yet, in the application of skill to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose promise as to the result .

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