We’ll soon be able to erase bad memories
IT’S a dream long held by sciencefiction writers – that one day we will be able to erase painful memories and create happy ones.
But now scientists say fiction is closer to reality than we might have thought. By electronically tinkering with brain waves they may soon be able to treat conditions such as amnesia and post-traumatic stress disorder by removing distressing memories, said researcher Laurie Pycroft. Using the same techniques ‘we will be able to insert memory prostheses’ to enhance our recollections or create new ones.
The idea was the basis for the 1990 film Total Recall, based on a short story by Philip K Dick, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger stars.
However, there is a dark side: cyber-attackers could remotely steal our memories or implant fake ones by targeting the mind-reading devices. ‘Points of weakness exist,’ said Dmitry Galov, of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, which is working with Oxford researchers.
TOTAL RECALL: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s starring role