It is (slowly) dawning on me as I look at some of the earlier hypertext systems, that some of them were, in some ways, all about cognitive extension. And when I say “earlier”, I mean those that have been tried out in the past, already. Namely, Memex and NoteCard. What I don’t mean is that NoteCard is an earlier version of the Web. If anything, it seems to be a second generation hypermedia system, while the Web (I’m starting to think) is a first generation system.
I’m thinking the Memex, for example, which was to support and supplement one’s memory, is a cognitive extension just as the notebook of the person with Alzheimer’s during his visit to the Museum (those who understand that reference, know what I’m talking about).
Similarly, the NoteCard computer environment wasn’t built to replace the intellectual creative process, but to support it. To help make sense of ideas, manage and present them.
So is the Web a tool a cognitive extension?