Monday, May 03, 2004

An Efficient Index of all Human Knowledge

"There is no practical obstacle whatever now to the creation of an efficient index to all human knowledge, ideas and achievements, to the creation, that is, of a complete planetary memory of all mankind. And not simply an index, the direct reproduction of the thing itself can be summoned to any properly prepared spot.

This in itself is a fact of tremendous significance, it foreshadows a real intellectual unification of our race. The whole human memory can be, and probably in a short time will be, made accessible to every individual. And what is also of very great importance in this uncertain world where destruction becomes continually more frequent and unpredictable, is this, that ... it need not be concentrated in any one single place. It need not be vulnerable as a human head or a human heart is vulnerable. It can be reproduced exactly and fully, in Peru, China, Iceland, Central Africa, or wherever else. ... It can have at once, the concentration of a craniate animal and the diffused vitality of an amoeba."

H.G. Wells. 1937