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Megachange: The World in 2050 by John Andrews, Daniel Franklin

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18 The web of knowledge

Kenneth Cukier

The internet has transformed society in a remarkably short time. Even faster change lies ahead as the amount of data that is produced and processed increases at an exponential rate

IN THE WANING DAYS of the second world war, Vannevar Bush, science adviser to America’s President Roosevelt, penned an essay in the Atlantic Monthly entitled “As We May Think”. He conceived of a machine, called the “memex”, that would contain all human knowledge and could be summoned in an instant. An operator would sit before a keyboard and monitor – a small mental leap from the mechanical typewriters and library microfilm screens then available – and interact with information. The memex would make associations among documents, ...

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