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6 reasons smartphones can’t replace our brains

In my Scientific American column this month, I noted that there's not much need to memorize anything anymore. Ask a high-schooler today to rattle off the presidents, the periodic table or state capitals, and you'll get a blank stare—or a "Sure, let me grab my phone." Google is always available. And when's the last time you had to memorize a phone number?

But we'll never consult our phones for everything. Some things are so important we'll have to commit them to memory even if we reach the age of universal digital retrieval. Here are a few of the life categories where memory will always beat digital lookups:

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