I needed to call my uncle today, and I couldn’t remember his out-of-state number. So I called my parents – no answer. I call my brother, and he can’t track it down, but my parents happened to be visiting, so I got to ask my dad. He couldn’t remember his own brother’s phone number. I ask for my other uncle’s number, but he’s on vacation or something. I think “oy”, the family can’t remember their own numbers anymore.
Then on a whim, I try out four11.com (which I forgot Yahoo bought some time ago), put in his last name and city, and boom: one result found, and it’s my uncle.
I mention this here because it illustrates how the web is greatly eclipsing the amount of knowledge that a group of humans could ever keep track of. Very soon, you won’t have to remember lots of things, just where to find the information quickly. The web is making this externalized knowledge possible, and I don’t know if it’d happen without it.
I wonder when trivia shows like Jeporady!™ will give up on needing human encyclopedias as contestants and just start allowing the use of search engines by players?