There is much in Poundstone’s “Head In the Cloud” that is not covered in this blog. HM encourages the interested reader to read the book. Poundstone provides strategies for sorting through the vast amounts of available information. However, HM wants to make a single point. The notion that everything can be found, so nothing needs to be remembered, is dangerously in error. Hence the title of this post, Move Knowledge from the Cloud into your biological brain. Of course, it would be both impractical and impossible to move everything to our biological brains. Most information can be ignored. Some information can be made available, but not immediately accessible. This is information that can be readily found via searching, bookmarking, or downloading to another storage device. However, there is other information that needs to be accessible in your biological memory. The problem is how much information and where should it be stored. The answer to this question is reminiscent of Goldilocks. That is not too much, and not too little. This varies from individual and depends upon the nature of the topic.
Poundstone seems to imply that what information needs to go where is a triage problem solved by the brain. What he neglects to mention is that this should be a conscious process. Do not passively assume that the brain will perform this function effectively. It needs input from your conscious mind. It requires thinking, Kahneman’s System 2 processing. Effective cognition requires effective communication among what is available in technology and our fellow humans, what we can readily access from technology and our fellow humans, and what needs to be held in our biological brains.
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