Monday, October 20, 2014

Memex Analysis Commentary

Memex for DARPA

            Upon completing a Google search for the word “memex,” I came across a fairly recent article earlier this year discussing DARPA’s launch of a new program that will “develop the next generation of search technologies and revolutionize… search results”. From the article, it is clear that the author thinks very highly of the memex idea, and in fact asserts that this information infrastructure created by Vannevar Bush makes Internet searching more efficient and personalized based on individual interests. This article seems to be more of a press release, centered on memex’s capabilities of making search results more immediately useful for parties such as the Government, military, and other commercial enterprises. Overall, DARPA’s mission statement is focused on improving the search process for everyone, as well on improving one’s method for acquiring shared information.
            As the article continues, the goal of memex is explained more specifically. The introduction of memex ultimately is intended to counteract human trafficking, as this action generally has a large web presence to attract customers. Allegedly, as stated, people use mediums such as online chats, hidden services, and forums to enable the growing idea of modern slavery. As a result, something such as memex, which makes a more configurable and faster search process realistic, would allow new chances for legislators and enforcement agencies to defeat human trafficking occurring today. Particularly, DARPA plans to use memex in 3 clearly defined ways, which in actuality, do compare to Bush’s original intended use. In other words, DARPA wants to employ memex as a way to enable open source technology.
            In analysis, the memex discussed about in this article, takes Bush’s idea from “As We May Think” in 1945 much further. What was originally envisioned as a computer to assist in human memory, Bush wanted the memex to store information and help users gather information more easily. He used the term “indexing” to describe users of his memex to scan huge amounts of stored information and gain insight from what they were searching for. From this idea of the memex in the mid 1900’s, scientists and engineers alike worked at creating the Internet and other online major IT technologies. From this article, it is clear that the memex has been applied in many different contexts, both to benefit the normal user of the world wide web, in addition to assist the Government and military in improving society. Evidently, efficiency yet once again in our global network society is the end goal and emphasis in many different scenarios.    

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