The future of memory

  • March 30, 2016

final_cut_xlgIn the movie Final Cut, Robin Williams plays Alan Hakman, a man who edits memories for living. The premise is set in the future. Technology has advanced and allows implanted devices to record all the scenes in one’s life. When someone dies, Hakman downloads the memories and carefully edits them to compose a film which is shown at their funeral. Of course, only the best memories are depicted, while Hakman cuts the rest out. Hakman has sworn secrecy to the powers that be.

The idea is interesting to contemplate. We already know that we don’t remember events exactly as they happen. Our perceptions are our own and often depend on the emotions memories produce in us. To view someone’s life through their eyes takes much more than a visual and hearing device. We have to understand thought and motivation as well.

Is the technology moving towards the movie’s premise? Well, yes. A Swedish company called Memoto raised Kickstarter funds and developed a “life-logging” device. Now called Narrative Clip, the device is worn around your neck and takes five megapixel photos every two seconds and uploads them to a special server. Research shows that memories are improved and solidified after viewing a series of photos taken during an event. The catch is that the memory of the person wearing the device has the opportunity to improve their recollection, while others who see the photos will have their own version.

In addition, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported recently that they were able to create a false memory in a mouse. The researchers didn’t create a new memory, but they changed the memory of the location where the memory took place. They mice received an electrical shock in one location but were caused to remember the shock taking place in a different location.  Basically, the researchers applied new feelings to a memory. “It wasn’t so much writing a memory from scratch, it was basically connecting two different types of memories. We took a neutral memory, and we artificially updated that to make it a negative memory,” said Steve Ramirez, one of the M.I.T. neuroscientists on the project. The possibilities are far-reaching.

But despite our march toward our inevitable technological future, the best way to convey your true thoughts to those you love is to insure your feelings are communicated along with your memories. Human communication is the key. WillBox.me can help you organize your memories before mortality takes you from those who remain living. WillBox.me strives to give you the peace of mind that your thoughts will be protected and conveyed. For help with your digital afterlife, online legacy, electronic will, virtual safe deposit box or online asset protection, go to WillBox.me.

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