The Colbert Report

Season 7 Episode 104

The Cars

Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Aug 09, 2011 on Comedy Central
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Episode Summary

The Cars

Tonight Stephen welcomeslegendary rock band The Cars.

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      • Stephen: But now there's a modern way to cram all the data into our sense holes, and it brings us to tonight's Word: Head in the Cloud. Folks, to deal with information overload the human brain uses something called transactive memory, relying on friends and family to remember things you don't have space for, like when a husband remembers to pay the electric bill while the wife remembers everything he's done wrong for the past 10 years. (Like criticizing her on TV) Now our brains are applying the same technique online. It seems that Betsy Sparrow, Columbia researcher and Decemberist song lyric recently publishes a report called Memory in the Age of Google. (Look it up on Bing) Subjects in the study were asked to type facts into a computer such as: An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. (Research provided by Snapple caps) Now to determine how the internet affects our memory, half were told those facts were saved in the computer and the other half were told they would not be saved. The results were fascinating but I didn't commit them to memory because I could always look them up on YouTube.

        [Video: Betsy Sparrow: When people think you look up stuff online over and over again it's continually accessible then they won't remember it as well.]

        Stephen: This makes sense, if something's online I don't bother remembering it. As I explained to my staff, I am constantly forgetting what naked women look like. (Short-term mammary loss) And folks, nobody remembers phone numbers anymore. If I want to call my Nana, I just tap her name on my phone and all of her information is in there. It's that easy. (Their longest call in five years) And yet we stubbornly insist on keeping data in the old skull drive. This thing is totally unreliable. For some reason it remembers all the words to Mandy, but doesn't remember my assistant's name. (It's Mandy) Thankfully companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft offer remote computer storage so we can access all of our information wherever and whenever we want. It's called the Cloud, and they've already launched a massive viral marketing campaign in the skies. I can't imagine what that cost. Well folks I'm in. I've already upwebbed everything I've ever known into the Cloud: Parents names, dogs prescriptions, pizza thong instructions, baseball stats, even my deepest, darkest secrets. (Turned on by aquarium gravel) Now the only thing my brain has to do it keep my eyeballs from falling backwards because everything that was in here is safely stored in the Cloud and I can access it at any time. For example I'm hungry right now so I should look up my favorite food and I'll just tap it in here and I appear to not be connected to my Wi-Fi. And what as the password….right, it's my favorite food. Okay fine, I'll just reset the password and let's see here, I need to give it the city of my birth….Is Qwerty a city? (Capital of Qwebec) I'll try another hint, what is my mother's maiden name. Wait a second, my mother was a maid? (No wonder she changed her name) Okay, don't panic, I may be just an empty flesh terminal relying on technology to remember all my ideas, terms and relationships but I am confident that everything that makes me a unique human being is still out there somewhere safe in a theoretical storage space owned by giant multinational corporations. (Head in the cloud)

        And that's….help me out? (The Word) I'll take your word for it.

      • Stephen: Tonight: Record temperatures sweep the heartland. If you can't stand the heat, go in the kitchen and get a nice cold drink. Then: Can the internet make us better human beings? Judging from YouTube comments no, and you're gay. And my guests tonight are legendary rockers The Cars. At today's gas prices I don't want to know what this is costing me. Captain Morgan's ship has been found. If it's anything like the drink, it doesn't know what happened to it either. This is the Colbert Report.

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