Technology and memory

Essay 4: Technology and memory
On a simple level, many of us recognize that we no longer remember anyones telephone number, and that the cellphone in our pockets makes it unnecessary to remember how to navigate or the name of flowers and birds, or how to calculate a restaurant tip. On what seems like science fiction, whole brain emulation may eventually enable the uploading of a persons consciousness, including memory, into a computer. Although many people value these technological advances that may seem to make our lives more convenient, others see this as a dehumanizing trend that will damage both society and the individual. For this essay you will take a stand for or against the use of some form of memory-enhancing technology. In order to strengthen your argument, you will need to use some research to explain what this technology is and to give some evidence about what its effects have been or will be.

Brainstorm. Look over the post Ive done on Readings for Essay 4, and try some googling of your own. Think about the ways you use technology to help you remember things you would otherwise have to memorize. I encourage you to pick an area that youre interested in, and hopefully one that does not overlap too much with the other topics youve chosen for your other essays. You may focus on one particular piece of technology or several related ones.

Find some sources. Look for information you could use to support your proposal (or to get ideas for what proposal you wish to offer). Your sources may do the following:

give some background information about the technology youve chosen
establish some of the positive and/or negative effects of this technology
Remember to rely not just on search engines but also the librarys databases and book collection. You will need at least three credible sources; at least two of these must either be in print or have originally appeared in print. Note that articles from research databases almost always qualify as originally in print, as do articles you find online from sites like the New York Times, Wired, or any other magazine, journal or newspapers online site. (You cannot use three websites, no matter how credible they appear. Note that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for college-level research.)

Compile a tentative Works Cited page. List your sources in MLA format. Be sure to consider the credibility of the sources you choose to use. How can you tell its reliable info? Look at where and when the source was published, the credentials of the author, the objectivity of the organization involved. Look for sources that are meaty, with lots of useful information.

Organize your argument. The core of this project will be your claim about the value or damage caused by this technology. Once youve digested the information in your sources, decide which side you support. Free-write or bullet point the reasons you hold this position. What details could you use to support or develop or explain those reasons? Write a tentative thesis statement that gives your claim along with the strongest several reasons you have come up with. Make sure that your claim is specific and realistic (though more scientific advancement may be necessary). What background information would it be necessary or useful to provide to your reader? What would be the counterargument of people who disagree with you, and how would you address their concerns?

A standard organization of this essay would be to give some introductory info in the first paragraph, and close that paragraph with your thesis statement. This will be one sentence taking the position that robots should or should not be used in this application, along with a brief explanation of your reasoning. Additional background info may appear next, if necessary. Then develop several paragraphs that give the reasons for the superiority of robots over humans or vice versa. The next section typically will address the counterargument along with your concession or rebuttal. (See the resources listed under the Argue tab at the top of blog for further explanation of these terms.)

Draft. The target length of your essay should be about three pages (or 1000 words). Focus on a clear structure, and make sure your reasons are supported by evidence from your sources, cited according to MLA guidelines.


a strong thesis statement makes an arguable claim
focused, unified, and coherent paragraphs that give a logical framework for your argument
use of specific details to provide evidence for your reasons
quality of your sources
proper MLA documentation