The Word - Head in the Cloud

  • Aired:  08/09/11
  •  | Views: 33,319

Technology turns people into empty flesh terminals that rely on it for all their ideas, memories and relationships. (5:40)

STUDIO GRAPE.

(LAUGHTER)

NATION, THESE DAYS, YOU KNOW, WE

LIVE A 24/7 CONNECTED SOCIETY

THAT'S GETTING SO BUSY IT MAY

SOON UPGRADE TO 25/8.

WHICH IS GREAT NEWS, BECAUSE WE

ARE THE SUM TOTAL OF OUR

EXPERIENCES.

AND THANKS TO ALL THIS

TECHNOLOGY, WE'VE HAVING SO MANY

MORE EXPERIENCES TO BE MADE OF.

NOWADAYS I CAN CHAT ONLINE,

LISTEN TO A PODCAST AND ORDER

GROCERIES ALL WHILE LOOKING AT

PHOTOS OF KITTEN WAR CRIMINALS.

(LAUGHTER)

AND THANKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA,

ANYONE I MEET STAYS IN MY LIFE

FOREVER WHETHER I WANT THEM TO

OR NOT.

(LAUGHTER)

UNFORTUNATELY, OUR BRAINS AREN'T

MEANT TO STORE THAT MUCH

INFORMATION.

ACCORDING TO ANTHROPOLOGIST

ROBIN DUNBAR, THE AVERAGE BRAIN

CAN ONLY HANDLE ABOUT 150

RELATIONSHIPS.

ALTHOUGH OTHER ORGANS CAN HANDLE

MORE.

(LAUGHTER).

(APPLAUSE)

DUNBAR STUDIED THE AVERAGE SIZE

OF TRIBES AND VILLAGES

THROUGHOUT HISTORY AND

DISCOVERED THAT UNTIL RECENTLY

MOST CONTAINED ABOUT 150 PEOPLE

WHO WERE EASY TO REMEMBER

BECAUSE YOU WERE RELATED TO THEM

OR MARRIED TO THEM OR BOTH.

(LAUGHTER)

BUT THERE IS NOW A WAY WE CAN

HANDLE ALL THE DATA THAT MODERN

SOCIETY CRAMS INTO OUR SENSE

HOLES AND IT BRINGS US TO

TONIGHT'S WORD.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS.

FOLKS, TO DEAL WITH INFORMATION

OVERLOAD, THE HUMAN BRAIN USES

SOMETHING CALLED TRANSACTIVE

MEMORY, RELYING ON FRIENDS AND

FAMILY TO REMEMBER THINGS YOU

DON'T HAVE SPACE FOR.

LIKE WHEN A HUSBAND REMEMBERS TO

PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL WHILE THE

WIFE REMEMBERS EVERYTHING HE'S

DONE WRONG FOR THE PAST 10

YEARS.

(LAUGHTER)

NOW OUR BRAINS ARE APPLYING THE

SAME TECHNIQUE ONLINE.

IT SEEMS THAT BETSY SPARROW,

COLUMBIA RESEARCHER AND

DECEMBERERIST SONG LYRIC,

RECENTLY PUBLISHED A REPORT

CALLED "MEMORY IN THE AGE OF

GOOGLE."

SUBJECTS IN THE STUDY WERE ASKED

TO TYPE FACTS INTO A COMPUTER

SUCH AS AN OSTRICH'S EYE IS

BIGGER THAN ITS BRAIN.

NOW, TO DETERMINE...

(LAUGHTER).

HOW THE INTERNET AFFECTS OUR

MEMORY, HALF WERE TOLD THOSE

FACTS WERE SAVED IN THE COMPUTER

AND THE OTHER HALF WERE TOLD

THEY WOULD NOT BE SAVED.

THE RESULTS WERE FASCINATING BUT

I DIDN'T COMMIT THEM TO MEMORY

BECAUSE I KNEW I COULD ALWAYS

LOOK THEM UP ON YOUTUBE.

(LAUGHTER)

JIM?

>> WHEN PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN

LOOK UP STUFF ONLINE OVER AND

OVER AGAIN THAT'S CONTINUALLY

ACCESSIBLE THEN THEY WON'T

REMEMBER IT AS WELL.

>> Stephen: THIS MAKES SENSE.

IF SOMETHING'S ONLINE I DON'T

BOTHER REMEMBERING IT.

AS I EXPLAINED TO MY STAFF, I AM

CONSTANTLY FORGETTING WHAT NAKED

WOMEN LOOK LIKE.

(LAUGHTER)

AND NOBODY...

(APPLAUSE).

AND, FOLKS, NOBODY REMEMBERS

PHONE NUMBERS ANYMORE.

IF I WANT TO CALL MY NANA, I

JUST TAP HER NAME ON MY PHONE

AND ALL OF HER INFORMATION IS

THERE N THERE?

>> HELLO?

STEPHEN?

>> Stephen: SEE?

IT'S THAT EASY.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

AND YET WE STUBBORNLY INSIST ON

KEEPING DATA IN THE OLD SKULL

DRIVE.

THIS THING IS TOTALLY

UNRELIABLE.

FOR SOME REASON IT REMEMBERS ALL

THE WORDS TO "MANDY" BUT DOESN'T

REMEMBER MY ASSISTANT'S NAME.

(LAUGHTER)

THANKFULLY, COMPANIES LIKE

APPLE, GOOGLE, AND MICROSOFT

OFFER REMOTE COMPUTER STORAGE SO

WE CAN ACCESS ALL INFORMATION

WHEREVER AND WHEREVER WE WANT.

IT'S CALLED THE CLOUD.

AND THEY'VE ALREADY LAUNCHED A

MASSIVE VIRAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN

IN THE SKIES.

(LAUGHTER)

I CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT THAT COST.

WELL, FOLKS, I'M IN.

I'VE ALREADY UPWEBBED EVERYTHING

I'VE EVER KNOWN INTO THE CLOUD.

PARENTS' NAMES, DOG'S

PRESCRIPTIONS, PIZZA THAWING

INSTRUCTIONS, BASEBALL STATS,

EVEN MY DEEPEST, DARKEST

SECRETS.

NOW, THE ONLY THING...

(LAUGHTER).

THE ONLY THING MY BRAIN HAS TO

DO IS KEEP MY EYEBALLS FROM

FALLING BACKWARDS.

BECAUSE EVERYTHING THAT WAS IN

HERE IS SAFELY STORED IN THE

CLOUD.

AND I CAN ACCESS IT AT ANY TIME.

FOR EXAMPLE, I'M HUNGRY RIGHT

NOW SO I SHOULD LOOK UP MY

FAVORITE FOOD AND I WILL JUST

TAP IN HERE... AND I APPEAR NOT

TO BE CONNECTED TO MY WI-FI.

(LAUGHTER)

OKAY, WHAT WAS THE PASSWORD?

IT WAS... RIGHT, IT'S MY

FAVORITE FOOD.

(LAUGHTER)

OKAY.

FINE, I'LL JUST RESET THE

PASSWORD.

AND LET'S SEE HERE.

UM... I NEED TO GIVE IT THE CITY

OF MY BIRTH.

(LAUGHTER)

IS QWERTY A CITY?

(LAUGHTER)

LET'S SEE.

I'LL JUST TRY... WAIT, I'LL TRY

ANOTHER HINT.

WHAT IS MY MOTHER'S MAIDEN NAME?

WAIT A SECOND!

MY MOTHER WAS A MAID?

OKAY, DON'T PANIC.

OKAY, JUST DON'T PANIC, WHATEVER

YOUR NAME IS.

UM... I MAY BE JUST AN EMPTY

FLESH TERMINAL RELIANT ON

TECHNOLOGY FOR ALL MY IDEAS,

MEMORIES, AND RELATIONSHIPS BUT

I AM CONFIDENT THAT ALL OF THAT

EVERYTHING THAT MAKES ME A

UNIQUE HUMAN BEING IS STILL OUT

THERE SOMEWHERE.

SAFE IN A THEORETICAL STORAGE

SPACE OWNED BY GIANT

MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS.

(LAUGHTER)

AND THAT... HELP ME OUT?

I'LL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR

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