We’ll soon be able to erase bad mem­o­ries

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - COMMENT -

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

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