"The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it” (pg 2). Since “As We May Think” was published 65 years ago, it is fascinating to consider that some of the things Bush imagined would be revolutionary have occurred and are now taken for granted (for example, we now enjoy the ability to take digital photographs.) The piece put into perspective how privileged of a world/society I live in.
This ubiquity of new technology is what Bush calls compression – a process that works to make things easier. The first thing that leapt to mind was how this would also affect the compression of time. When younger, I remember learning about history in eras – the era of the steam engine, the era of the automobile, and more recently, the era of the computer. However, as technology improves at a more rapid pace, the amount of time before the next “revolutionary” technology is introduced becomes smaller. Nowadays it seems that we are living in mini-eras (say the era of the iPod and the iPhone) and with so much technology at our disposal, it is hard to pick THE one that defines our generation.
Finally, there was this quote that struck a chord: "But even this new machine will not take the scientist where he needs to go” (pg 5). It brings up this idea that no matter how much technology we create, and how much we simplify our lives, we are never satisfied. What then is the ultimate machine? Can we actually ever produce the perfect machine or does it already exist (i.e. the human brain)?