Crisis! How can we store human knowledge?

Crisis! AAAAAaaaaaaa!!!! Fellow humans, we have a problem of pants-moistening urgency! WTF are we supposed to do with all our knowledge, huh??? Where the hell do we put it all? It's almost easier to do everything from scratch every time you need something than to find out how somebody's done it before. How will we remember everything? How will we organize what we remember? Time to lose your shit, everybody! Commence the shit-losing! All shit must be lost by everyone immediately! DOOOOOOMED!

(Full article from November 1962 issue of Popular Mechanics follows.)


A young John Favreau poses with a reel of 35mm data film, four years before he is born.


Jim D. said...

I spent several years of my 20's in the dark in front of a microcard reader. Many works of early American literature only exist as one or two crumbling copies in somebody's vault (usually the Newberry Library in Chicago of the American Antiquarian Society in Massachusetts). But they're all on microcard. Or they were then, but even then (1990's), major research libraries only had one or two card readers kept operative by cannibalizing parts from broken machines. I wonder what the poor grad students are doing now? I wonder. But I don't really care.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

I have to believe somebody's started a project to auto-scan and convert all that important stuff from cards to digital, right? It shouldn't be that hard to do. I bet a normal scanner would have easily enough resolution, and a little program could interpret the holes / dots on the cards without too much trouble. If they can read handwriting, or text in a photo (my phone can), punch cards should be child's play.

This article was pretty ironic, considering that now you hear people going on about information overload, when back in '62, PM was trying to freak out about losing data.

[lrf] said...

"The Soviet Union has mounted a massive effort to 'brainpick' the world's recorded literature..." "...our 'brainpicking' efforts have been desultory." Gentlemen, we must not allow a 'brainpick' gap.

[lrf] said...

Remember what 'brainpicking' did to Trotsky.

Steve Miller said...

Nice to see Puggsley Addams is working again.

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