GOOGLE AND THE INTERNET are causing people to forget things, according to researchers who thankfully remembered to look into this sort of business.
A blog post by security firm Kaspersky Lab said that the "Google effect" and "digital amnesia" are keenly felt in the UK where a large proportion of the adult population cannot remember a simple phone number, for example, because they have replaced the little grey cells with a smartphone.
Kaspersky polled 6,000 people over the age of 16 and found that 57 percent could not remember the phone number for their place of work (presumably except when it comes to calling in sick) while almost three quarters could not recall contact details for their offspring.
Typically the young are leading the way. The bulk of respondents said that their mobile device is their default knowledge box and holds just about all that they will need to know.
There is a lot of emotion attached to the information and the devices that hold it, and Kaspersky found that people would be deeply upset if they were parted from their hardware and therefore their memories.
Despite this, just a few act to protect content and devices, and less than a quarter of those polled use additional security measures to those on their device to protect information.
"Connected devices enrich our lives but they have also given rise to digital amnesia," said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky.
"We need to understand the long-term implications of this for how we remember and how we protect those memories. The phone numbers of those who matter most to us are now just a click away, so we no longer bother to memorise the details.
"We discovered that the loss or compromise of this precious information would not just be an inconvenience, but would leave many people deeply distressed."
Of course, some devices already have capable tools. The smartphone kill switch has been proved to work, for example, although it will not help you to remember the phone number for your favourite takeaway or how to get in touch with grandma. µ
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