Tag Archives: Vannevar Bush

Chris Stansberry Discussion Post 2


Sorry class.. Didn’t realize I hadn’t ‘published’ my post yet..

In his letter to Fortune magazine that was transformed into the essay “As We May Think”, Vannevar Bush explains and predicts many advanced and future technologies in the time of writing the essay. He successfully describes a prediction in the advancement of the computer, photography, speech recognition, the internet, and even the world wide web in link to his invention of the “memex”. Bush even predicts the digitalization of encyclopedia’s when he says: “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified”. In this sense, even back then the world was becoming surrounded by technology, technology comprised of numbers and mathematical formulas. In the “Dream Scene” of the Matrix, binary code (1’s and 0’s) is shown raining and making up everything in the frame. This represents everything from our laptops, smartphones, cameras, and even simpler things such as thermostats can all be numerically represented and boiled down to binary code. The simple truth is these technologies are all around us, all the time, especially in modern time and this is what’s portrayed in the Matrix scene. So many of the things we take for granted today or don’t even realize are a direct cause of the advancements in technology that made these items possible that Bush talks about.

Relying on Technology

@MyDtcAccount – Jonathan Crabtree


Back in 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote that “science may implement the ways in which man produces, stores, and consults the record of the race” (Bush 54). This idea is illustrated in the Matrix “Raining Code” scene by the alleged code that is falling from the top of the screen. This seemingly random pattern of letters represents nothing to the untrained eye, but we can assume that what is crossing the screen in front of us is coding that encapsulates all of the audio and visual elements of our day to day lives. While having all this information accessable sounds like a good thing – and it is – he also cautioned against the idea that technology will one day become such an integral part of our society that we will not be able to function without it. I believe that day has arrived.


Humans and technology have become inseperable. We can’t live without it, and it can’t exist without us. Even if we really just focused on “new media” as the technology, instead of ALL technology (i.e. the wheel, fire, a hammer, etc.), humans would still struggle to live. Think about it. If computers all of a sudden disappeared, you could no longer read this. Banks (and your money) would be crippled and disappear overnight. Capitalism would grind to a halt. How does water get to your home? Technology. How does your grocery store tell the supplier they need more food? Technology. Obviously there are some people that would be able to survive, but I honestly think a lot of people wouldn’t make it. As a society, we have become too reliant on technology to make things easier for us, that we have no idea how to handle life without them.

The Relationship between Human, Computer and Technology.


The relationship between human and computer has been long time ago and it just keeps growing up as the human’s world is developing. According to Vannevar Bush, technology is always new and very powerful (Vannevar 46); that’s why people have to rely on technology to the approach modern efficient world. With the current computer’s system, its functions are very complicated with significant noticeable features. However, the current computer system is not more than the information technology as the first product came into the world. In 1945, Vannevar Bush created the very first piece of technology; it’s called the Memex. “ A Memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility” (Vannevar 53). There are four main components that operated the Memex system; they were microfilms with drawers, the screens, the keyboard and the stylus. Firstly, microfilms were used to record documents, communications and images; additionally, drawers were the storage for the microfilms as the library of microfilms were accessed through these drawers. Secondly, the screens displayed the projected items, the codes, the trails and allowed the direct entry of notes. Thirdly, the keyboard was used to enter codes, project the heads of trails and to duplicate established trails. Finally, the stylus was used for adding notes to project items (Vannevar 53).  Nowadays, there are so many computers’ systems and devices are created base on the Memex’s system of Vannevar Bush; plus, it increased the technological human demands to higher levels.

Humans, Computers, and Information


Humans have become more reliant on technology than ever before. Vannevar Bush was correct when he said that a time would come when humans couldn’t live without technology. It is true. We have become so reliant that I couldn’t even imagine living in a world without the technology that we have. As we progress in the development of new technology, we become more dependent on all the technology that we create. Technology is becoming simpler to use. Anyone can become technologically dumb. Theodor Nelson said that the world of the computer must become simpler, and more clarified to “bring literature, science, art and civilization to new heights of understanding.” Information is right around the corner. It is very simple to gain access to information with such simplicity. Just launch your browser, and information is at your fingertips. Nelson also said that the computer should be used to assist humans in their everyday lives (Literary Machines). Truly, computer assist us with most obstacles that come our way. However, we rely on a computer, just as much as the computer relies on us. A computer does not have a mind of its own. It’s a working relationship between the human and the computer. The Matrix demonstrates this relationship in showing that we give life to these machines. In return, we receive a virtual world built from ground up with code. The raining code, as seen in the the clip, shows the information that arises from the virtual world. At the pace technology is going, we are bound to become dumber as computers become smarter. If we rely on technology so much now, what will become of us 20 years from now? Will we be able to make decision for ourselves? Or will computers determine how we will live our lives? These are just some of the questions that humans should consider before giving computers too much power.



Computers haven’t been around for as long as humans have, but throughout the years humans and computers have had a relationship. As time passes by the relationship between humans and computers will only increase, which is what Vannevar Bush is trying to say in “As we may think”. (45) “But there are signs of a change as new and powerful instrumentalities come into use. Photocells capable of seeing things in a physical sense, advanced photography which can record what is seen or even what is not…” (vannevar, 46). Humans, computers and information computers hold are very big. As we can see in the matrix image it is made by a computer and looks 3D.  In the “dream scene matrix” you can see the “raining code” you can also see some of this green code in the 3D image. Humans still have a lot to discover about computer and information as Bush says “Like dry photography, microphotography still has a long way to go.” (47) Ted Nelson and Vannevar Bush have similar ideas/theories and as time passes by those theories are becoming facts and reality. Matrix also supports their theories because they are all codes and soon everything will be codes. Whatever does the future hold for us?


Blog 2: Humans and Computers


The relationship between human beings and computers is something that is not going away any time soon. As the human race continues to evolve, so will our technological strides. This will eventually bring the human race to the point raised by Vannevar Bush that humans will one day be so reliant on technology that we will not be able live without it. We as humans tend to rely on technology to make our lives easier, while technology (computers) relies on us to operate them. Technology will take away the need for hard work and overall comprehension. The Matrix is a film that cleverly demonstrates how human beings and computers rely on each other to function properly.  In the film, humans are used as a source of energy for machines. The machines, in turn, provide a sort of virtual reality for the humans that will blind them from the apocalyptic world. It also provides them with security. The virtual reality created by the machines is represented by a raining green code (as seen in the image from the link). This raining green code is used in the dream sequence (seen in the video) and is used to represent information from the virtual reality such as visuals and audio. The dream scene supports Theodor Nelson’s idea that essentially all obtainable information will become computerized code. Claims from people like Bush and Nelson raise a lot thought and concern for the future. Will the human race truly be so reliant on technology that we will not be able to live without it?


Blog Post 2: Relationship between humans, computer and information.


It seems that the video of the Dream Scene and the image from the very same movie represents ideas within the readings of Vannevar Bush and Theodor H. Nelson. Before I get into how it is appropriate to say that the ideas conveyed in this post will be completely up to opinion as considering how the interpretations of both the image and the video are up to the individual.

First of all it seems that video clip seems to show an endless amount of knowledge falling from the sky into nowhere. It seems that this data, knowledge or whatever people would like to call it, it seems that this data is unattainable to any regular person. People are forced to sit back and watch it fall into an endless sea of nothingness. This seems to represent the idea that Vannevar Bush presents that there is so much material and knowledge but how can one attain it. I would further push on this idea that without any way to attain this knowledge, it is lost. I would not necessarily say forever considering how it is still possible to attain it in some way.

The picture seems to represent computerized data and humans intertwined together. This might represents the idea that digital technology is only what humans make it out to be and that this technology is so intertwined into ourselves that we become apart of it as a whole. That is to say like Vannevar Bush eluded to this idea of the Memex (53) which could link people together in order to add new ideas to an existing idea or create a new idea in which people can add on to as well. While today, this already exists but for the time it would be a new and revolutionary idea to be able to connect to people inside and work together on a project rather than having to meet up and discuss.

Blog Prompt 2- Information and Computers-Star Preston


Theodor Nelson expresses this idea of a new accessibility and excitement of expression through multiple mediums (3). People will be able to have access to ideas through not only videos, but through digital photos, texts, web videos, etc. Not only, will people be able to have access to this information, but they will also be able to be “active producers,” (DTC Lecture 01.17.13).  The Matrix has both a video and image that recreates the raining code. It’s the same representation of the code expressed in two different ways; that have two very different effects. Personally the video creates a choppy feeling, where as the image seems for like a “raining code.” The creators of The Matrix, used computers to create information in two different accessible ways, which is what Nelson stressed in Literary Machines.

Furthermore, in “As We May Think,” Vannevar Bush saw multiple possibilities in the advancement of technology for the benefit of humanity. The Memex was an idea that allowed the user to project ideas that could be linked with previous ones drawn up on a neo-desk top computer (54). The memex allowed the user to build a trail of ideas and links that another person could ultimately follow or add to. (53).  So really we have this web of information created by humans, but accessed through computers. Not only could a person view this trail, but they could also add to it, tying different aspects and cultures to information. The image from the Matrix appears to be three humans in this digital or computerized world. The image visually represents the link between humanity and computers that Vannevar and Nelson express. That humans express their ideas and thought through multiple outlets with the help of computers. These thoughts can be built upon and linked by others and expressed in even more ways (as is seen in Vannevar’s influence of other thinkers).