On Artificial Memory Augmentation
Our memories are still our own, but for how long?
When we say someone is more knowledgeable, it generally is a short-hand way of saying that they have more experience stored somewhere in their brain. The knowledgeable person has gained this experience through formal studies or informal exposure to a wide variety of situations — and have excelled at storing all of this experience in a usable format as their memory.
Knowledgeable humans make better decisions given the same access to the best available information. So if ‘sensors’ are operating with the same capability, at the same capacity and within the same context — then better decisions are a function of better knowledge and therefore a function of better memory.
What if memories are created artificially for you? Are you now more knowledgeable with ‘augmented’ memory?
- Artificial Intelligence work has been trying to make neural networks smarter by giving them ‘memory’ — see Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) and Long-short Term Memory (LSTM) networks.
- Scientists have been able to teach birds simple songs they’ve never heard before by selectively activating specific neurons in their brains — effectively implanting false memories.
- Blake Crouch’s sci-fi novel, ‘Recursion’ takes us through a ‘mind-bending’ story where memories have been created, altered and erased to create alternate realities — for individuals and for the entire world.
- And don’t forget the ‘memory-bending’ movie, ‘Inception’ where ideas were planted into the sub-conscious.
While these external agents are plotting to insert artificial memories into our brains, we are actually quite good at imagining things that may have happened- and thus unconsciously adept at creating our own ‘artificial’ memories.
If Memory = Learned-Experience = ‘Knowledge’ = Better Decisions, then an ‘augmented’ memory should be a good thing, right? Right?