Consider a future device … in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.
I first read his article in 1998 in the (digital) archive of The Atlantic Monthly and found it quite inspiring. I wrote an article about it on my old (web 1.0) website. The Dreamtime of the Internet
In his original essay, Bush posits some interesting, and in hindsight, quaint ideas:
Certainly progress in photography is not going to stop. Faster material and lenses, more automatic cameras, finer-grained sensitive compounds to allow an extension of the minicamera idea, are all imminent. Let us project this trend ahead to a logical, if not inevitable, outcome. The camera hound of the future wears on his forehead a lump a little larger than a walnut.
I’m glad I don’t have to wear a lump on my forehead, but can use my ultra-cool hand held device, the smartphone, to take pictures, but much of his vision has come to pass: dry photography – no need for chemicals, and lenses that auto focus.
You can read his original article As We May Think courtesy of your memex device.