The less we memorise, the less we remember

That’s the bane of consumer tech, isn’t it?

About eight years ago, I got my first mobile phone. It was an Alcatel, if I remember correctly. Lokes (we weren’t dating then) told me I sorely needed one if we were going to be friends – haha, j/k.

I had like five phone numbers in there. My friend Hazel’s. My mom and dad. Work. My house.

Okay, I had four.

The rest of it, I remembered. I was so good at remembering phone numbers that it made me really good at my job then, which was writing for a small trade magazine, coz I would remember all my clients’ numbers.

Today, I have close to 120 numbers in my handphone. Some of them are to people I’ve met only once, ‘coz I use a Windows Mobile phone (who can guess why?) and can synch it to my Outlook, where all the data pertaining to everyone I’ve ever met is in there since like 2000. It’s good, so if I ever change my phone (to another WM device, of course, or something that can grab the numbers from my Outlook), I can just synch and be done with it.

How many numbers are in my head? Only Lokes’ and my house. Even those took a while to get carved in stone in my increasingly decreasing brain.

Yes, my phone number mojo is all dried up. No thanks to mobile phones and their ability to keep 500 phone numbers.

Why am I talking about this?

Lokes outfitted a GPS device in our car a while ago and now I think I’m losing my already faulty mental compass.

Like my mom, I’m totally unreliable when it comes to roads and routes, so yes, I’ve been truly brave and lucky to have been able to drive around the Puget Sound area without getting a ticket and/or hurting myself/the kids, and/or just get so hopelessly lost I’ve had to have Lokes come get me (touch wood).

Before, I used to Google all my directions. Then I Local.lived them. But more and more now, I’ve been using the app CoPilot on my Smart Phone with our GPS thingie attached to the dashboard. And guess what? I’m slowly, but surely, losing all sense of direction since I don’t have to remember any landmarks or road signs anymore.

Technology. Love it or loathe it, we can’t get rid of it now. The more we rely on tech, the less we use on our own God-given faculties, prefering the man-made wonders. Thing is, these things purportedly allow us to use our brains for more important things.

Thing IS, the less we use our brains for these seemingly unimportant (or rather, not important enough) tasks, the less adept our noodles become, because how else would we exercise them on a daily basis, if not through remembering names or numbers or directions? I mean, what if one day someone makes a device to help us remember faces and names so that we won’t NEED to?

Or is that what THIS is? I mean, imagine having one of these on your phone that transmits by voice any data on a person through your tiny Bluetooth headset furtively. You’ll never have to suffer the embarassment of forgetting someone’s name again!

What’s left for your brain to remember when the day comes when we don’t need to remember phone numbers, appointments, addresses, faces, birthdates, hobbies, a person’s favourite movie, colours, artiste, to buy bread?

Will there come a day when you don’t even need to remember what you ate for lunch? When to eat lunch? To eat?

Maybe I’m being ridiculous. Maybe that’s what my brain does with all the extra space left thanks to all the other unimportant data I’ve now flushed into my phone and computer.

You know what they say about idle minds…

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