Outsourcing to Siliconia

“If you really do start entrusting all your ephemeral memory work to external systems, might your wetware start to atrophy?” Merlin Mann ponders. That’s a rather long-winded way of getting to a resolution to remember one’s own phone number, but Merlin’s post does link to an article/post by Clive Thompson.

Clive uses, and Merlin quotes, the metaphor of outsourcing. This made me think of an argument often used in favor of business outsourcing: it frees up resources that would otherwise do routine tasks for more “value-added” stuff. I guess that when it comes to the brain, that would include… blogging. Clive has a similar thought and a niftier way of putting it.

You could argue that by offloading data onto silicon, we free our own gray matter for more germanely “human” tasks like brainstorming and daydreaming.

Clive’s article is well worth reading, in part due to wording like that, and “the cyborg future is here… we’ve outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us.”