Caching and Human Errors

This article was first published on the 11th of May, 2016 and last updated on the 11th of May, 2016 by Patrick Carpen.

Sometimes while we are surfing the web, we see a webpage that is outdated, even though the newer version may already be live on other computers. This is because of a computer’s “cache”, and this is called “caching”.

Your web browser may store a webpage you visited in the past in something called a “cache”.

If you attempt to access the same webpage a few days later, the browser will quickly pull the cached version of the webpage and load it on the screen. This saves the browser a lot of time, and it makes browsing much faster. If the browser had to pull the page from its original server all over again, it would take much longer to load.

The only problem is that you may be viewing an outdated version of the webpage.

If you want to be sure that you are viewing the most recent version of the page, you need to clear your browser’s cache, and refresh the page. But some websites themselves have caching capabilities, which means that you and the rest of the world will continue seeing an outdated version of the page until the webmaster goes through a process to clear the website’s cache.
And this brings us to the similarity of computers to the human brain. How many times have you heard that the computer is very similar to the human brain? Nowadays, when using certain software and computer applications, you may wonder if the computer has human intelligence.

Not quite, but the the human has computer intelligence. That is probably because the human brain made the computer in it’s own image.

The human brain makes use of caching very often in everyday life. And that is one of the major causes of human errors. How many times have you heard the saying “it’s human to err”? And how many times have you made a mistake and said to yourself, “I can’t understand how I could make a mistake like that”?

Lets put things into perspective. John returns from Georgetown and you ask him to address an envelope for you. You tell him 195, Woolford Avenue, Georgetown. But John writes “135 woodford avenue…”

Perhaps John just came back from an address with 135. Perhaps he had just learned a number containing 135, or perhaps he had used the digits “35” too many times in the past week. When his brain called the “new digits” it summoned up the most frequently used one, instead of the most updated one.

For this reason, some people develop the talent of “clearing their mental cache” often. Those are the ones least prone to making errors. Others however, are not so good at clearing their mental cache.

How many times someone said something to you and you heard something entirely different? How many times did you have to ask “can you repeat that?” Or “did I hear you right?” How many times did you hear different words even though the correct words were clearly spoken? It’s because the human brain, like computers, makes use of caching.

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