For years scientists summarised ‘memory’ as an intricate part of the brain much like an ever expanding filing cabinet, a neural super-computer if you like, but in fact our memory is a brain-wide process. For example, driving a car is reconstructed from several areas; operating it lies in one section, getting from A to B in another and the ‘oh crap that guy just carved me up’ from yet another.
In this intricate system, we have several areas of memory; sensory, which lasts a second, short-term working memory, which last up to a minute and long-term memory, which lasts a lifetime (unless you’re a goldfish). Long-term memory then splits into explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious) and that then continues to break down into episodical, procedural and semantic memory systems.
So with all that in mind, who’s to say we couldn’t slip an updated folder into the filing cabinet and start to amend our memories, enhancing them, through neural prostheses…
Neural prosthetic devices are designed to provide artificial reconstruction of neurone to neurone connections where deterioration has occurred, so what if there was a safe way to insert these ‘memories’ into our neural architecture? Could we ‘remember’ that we’re fluent in a language, play guitar or know how to save a life?
If we could work out how to create the file to save it, then could we implant it as a memory? If we could create a common code that works with the electronic impulses in our brain and is understood through computer algorithms, could the future integration of memory be possible?
Gets the cogs pulsing doesn’t it?