Vannevar Bush

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Accompanies a lecture on Bush at Montana Tech.

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Vannevar Bush

  1. 1. Vannevar Bush “ As We May Think” – Referencing The New Media Reader, Wardrip-Fruin & Montfort
  2. 2. About Vannevar Bush. 1890 - 1974 <ul><li>Before WWII, Bush was at MIT producing analog computing projects. In 1940 he formed the “iron triangle” of military, industrial, and academic relationships with Dwight Eisenhower financial and political backing. </li></ul><ul><li>Bush was a primary organizer of the Manhattan Project that produced the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. </li></ul><ul><li>His vision of how technology can lead toward understanding and away from destruction was a primary inspiration for postwar research that lead to development of new media. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clSEqpLOKvM </li></ul>
  3. 3. Editor: Atlantic Monthly July 1945 “ [Vannevar Bush] urges that men of science should turn to the massive task of making more accessible our bewildering store of knowledge.” “ Like Emerson’s famous address of 1837 on ‘The American Scholar’ This paper by Dr. Bush calls for a new relationship between thinking man and the sum of our knowledge.” Editor’s comments to “As We May Think”
  4. 4. “ As We May Think” <ul><li>Bush asks, in 1945, “Now that [the war] appears to be approaching end end, what are the scientists going to do next?” </li></ul><ul><li>Biologists and medical scientists can go back to old paths but physicists are thrown offstride now that destructive gadgets are not required. Where will physicists find objectives worthy of their best in times of peace? </li></ul><ul><li>In this article, Bush predicted voice interaction, wearable information devices, wireless data connections and, most famously, “The Memex.” </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tiny+camera+vannevar+bush&aq=f </li></ul>
  5. 5. “ As We May Think” <ul><li>Bush asks, in 1945, “Now that [the war] appears to be approaching end end, what are the scientists going to do next?” </li></ul><ul><li>Biologists and medical scientists can go back to old paths but physicists are thrown off stride now that destructive gadgets are not required. Where will physicists find objectives worthy of their best in times of peace? </li></ul><ul><li>In this article, Bush predicted fax transmissions, voice interaction, wearable information devices, wireless data connections, associative indexing and, most famously, “The Memex.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Memex
  7. 7. The Memex <ul><li>The memex is “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, mechanized so it may be consulted with exceeding speed … an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.” </li></ul><ul><li>Looks like a desk with a keyboard and slanting translucent screens for reading. Archives of knowledge are indexed and stored on microfilm. </li></ul><ul><li>If a user wishes to consult a certain book, he taps its code on the keyboard and the information shows up. Users can add marginal notes and comments. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c539cK58ees </li></ul>
  8. 8. Associated Indexing <ul><li>Bush described associative indexing as “a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another.” </li></ul><ul><li>The user “builds a trail of his interest through the maze of materials available … And the trails do not fade. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear ready made wit a mesh of associative trails running through.” (pg. 46). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thus science may implement the ways in which man produces, stores, and consults the record of the race.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. As We May Think (final thoughts) <ul><li>“ The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience.” </li></ul>

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