Memory and Technology

Updated: Jan 26

We are living in a rapid technology advancing era where the world itself lies in one’s hands. Then why do you need to memorize something when you can just pull the bar down and check the remainders or the notifications?

Brain storage

Our brains are said to have a storage capacity of more than 2.5 petabytes. It is nearly equal to the storage space of a million 4k movies. How much do we store in that? Maybe a thousand memories of each less than ten minutes. Or maybe a maximum of one lakh memories by the end of your life if say, you die at 80.

Telephone directory? Does it ring the bell? Yes, it would, for many. But how many of you have seen a real one? Probably, none. We wouldn’t even have known that a book like that exists if it wasn’t the old movies.

But how many of you know that our grandparents used to remember a lot of numbers from it. Probably, a hundred phone numbers would be rolling in their brains, every second... OMG! How did they do it? I can’t even remember my own phone number.

Technology advancement in altering human brains

While the technology affected our memory to the extent we stopped remembering important moments like birthdays of our dears, our marriage anniversaries, etc. it also got advanced to the point that it is now even trying to change our memories.

Don't you believe me? Or maybe you just thought, 'Humans have already started printing skin, then they probably would have started doing something like changing the memories.' Yes, you guessed it right. There is this lab in the west where the scientists are trying to change memories of the Arachnophobia (Phobia of spiders) patients using VR and are trying to treat their phobia with it.

They say our memories are just proteins inside our neurons which on retracing, make us remember things. In simple words, it is like a tape recorder, playing it in one direction, it records sounds and playing it in the opposite direction, it retraces the path and produces sound.

But, if the person doesn't retrace a memory for a while, then the protein storing that memory fades. It means we are entirely going to forget about that particular memory. You all have already experienced something similar. The important dates like birthdays and anniversaries you forget are a good example of it.

The scientists who learned this (Probably they learned it after their family started complaining to them that they are forgetting things) are trying to use it to reshape the protein, or even trying to disintegrate it inside the brain. In short, if the person is having a trauma because of a situation, then that memory is removed from their mind. Eventually, the fear would disappear as well, making the patients lead a normal life.

Life without regrets and sad memories

It is amazing, right! Listening that now we can change our memories. Then I will soon forget all the regrets which are making me feel more regretful and also all the bad memories which are making me feel devasted and I will live a happy life. Just the thought is quite fascinating!

But soon, probably we will hear that some side effects exist with this or some nature unfriendly issues arrive and again we might start finding alternatives to it.

Need to decide?

I feel like there is no end to a discussion about the side effects of technology, but I need to end this. So, “Everything has two sides, just like the two sides of a coin. If you see it from one end, technology is saving people and giving light to people who are stuck in fear and if you see it from another end, it is the one which is making us lose something important and here, making us forget important dates.”

A blog by Pabba Abhishek (Writer of God). His other works include Novel series- God's Chess and other blogs in mediamug.

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