the future of... memory
Forgetting is a normal way to keep the hard drive of the mind clean. But are the memories actually there, waiting to be accessed when and if we choose?
OOver the past few decades, our brain has been put to the test like never before, thanks to our digital lives and the speed at which we receive and retain information. And yet, the size of our brain, or rather the hippocampus—the part of the brain that retains long-term memory—remains the same. The hippocampus is very much like the hard drive found in our computer, and each and every one of us is wired differently to gain and process the memories that we have stored in our brain. It’s the ability to retain memories and how we process them that defines us as human beings; but the brain can only hold so much information for that long, before memories start to fade.
There is talk of the use of a memory chip— either a silicon-based device or a living cell— into which you can download your memory and play it back. This Gibson “wet wiring” would be connected to a grid, so others can experience your memories too. It is an idea that Professor Chris Mason, a cell scientist, says is closer to fruition than we think. This will enable us to retain our memory and even have them live on, long after we have died. Think how Timothy Leary uploaded his death onto the Internet so that it could be “net wildlife”.
Theodore W Berger, a biomedical engineer and neuroscientist at the University of Southern California, has created a memory device, designed as an implant in the hippocampus, to help retain and restore our long-term memory. This chip will benefit those with Alzheimer’s, or those who have suffered a stroke or a brain injury. But, for now, it is still in the testing stage and at least 10 years away from becoming publicly available. Can you imagine the potential it holds for the human brain? The possibilities are endless; it will be the game changer in intelligence, where the clever individual will be even more so, due to an ability to form a library of information that he or she can tap into.
Dare we hope that we are one step closer to extending our brain capacity, not just retaining memories, but also processing them quicker in a logical and intelligent manner than we already are? A device that could make every one of us super-intelligent and has the ability to tap into the uncharted parts of our brain that are apparently dormant will open up a whole new world of human capabilities and possibilities. It will no longer be science fiction, but a reality. Remember, you read it here first.
Memory chip bank Download your memories and experiences into the cloud, or a private storage facility, and then access them remotely to share with friends and family. Or even for your own use. Satellite link-up Can’t attend a holiday or an event due to...