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Eidetic Memory for All

RAM your brain
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"Eidetic" memory is possessed by a few people Naturally. They have complete and total recall of anything/everything they ever experienced.

This can be both a blessing and a curse. Who wants to remember what it felt like to get attacked by bullies in the schoolyard?

Modern technology has almost advanced to the state where we can all enjoy the benefits of eidetic memory. Basically, it involves these steps:

1. Identify the various sensory nerves in the brain, that carry signals such as hearing, seeing, touching, etc, for processing by the cortex. (mostly done)

2. Tap those nerves. (We can do this now, too.)

3. Make sure the taps are two-way. That is, we need the points where the taps intersect with the nerves to be able to both receive and transmit signals. (We can probably do this now, but I'm not aware that anyone actually has tried to send out signals identical to those being received.)

4. Connect the taps to a memory-storage/playback device (RAM, hard disk, Flash memory, whatever works). When you choose, you activate storage. It records everything you experience. More particularly, you can decide whether or not to record sight or sound or taste or touch or smell, independently.

So, if you are at a rock concert located near a garbage dump, you can decide to record sight, sound, and touch, but exclude smell and taste.

Later on, you can activate playback at any time. Also, since technology has quite a ways to go yet, before it can match the Natural recording capacity of the brain, there should also be a way to "eject" the recording, so that you can insert blank-memory modules. At least until they can make the memory small enough that you can carry a lifetime supply with you, embedded.

Do note that as with almost all technologies, this is a way to Enhance Natural Ability. We all have the ability to recall various memories; some are merely perfect at it. This technology lets all of us become perfect at remembering stuff we want to remember.

Naturally, there will be some who disagree. Like the greedy RIAA and MPAA folks, who seem to think that every time you encounter something they have the copyright on, you should pay them a fee to access it. I'd like to see the Court Case where they try to charge fees to those who Naturally have eidetic memory, who can perfectly remember every song they ever heard on the radio, and never need to buy a CD.

Obviously, we all should have an ability like that!

Vernon, Apr 16 2007

Eidetic Memory for data couriers http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113481/
Johnny Mnemonic is arguably not widely known to exist. [ye_river_xiv, Apr 17 2007]

Human Memory Chips http://web.archive....an_20Memory_20Chips
in particular the last anno (by bristolz) [xaviergisz, Apr 17 2007]

Wikipedia: Eidetic memory http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Eidetic_memory
With two cites of researchers that were unable to verify a single actual case of Eidetic memory. [jutta, Apr 18 2007]

Halfbakery: Condom VCR's Condom_20VCR_27s
Record and play back sensory experience. [jutta, Apr 18 2007]

Here's a case of eidetic memory http://www.simonsay...26&er=9781416561767
MOSTLY eidetic, anyway. And needs more control! [Vernon, Apr 18 2008]

Strange Days http://en.wikipedia...nge_Days_%28film%29
has anyone seen this movie? [jaksplat, Apr 18 2008]


       //3. Make sure the taps are two-way.//   

       I'm sure something like this came up quite recently, and someone pointed out that, if we could do this, then we could fix spinal injuries, which, at present, we can't. Not that it wouldn't be possible in principle.   

       //When you choose, you activate storage. //   

       "Why so sad, honey?"
"I'm just wishing I'd remembered to activate storage first!"

       Doesn't it ever annoy you that people sometimes get so pre-occupied with photographing events that they forget to experience, them? Wouldn't there be a similar problem with this?
pertinax, Apr 16 2007

       It's a good point, if memory ever does become backupable/transferable (though I doubt it ever will), it could get to the point where experiences themselves become copyrightable - Describing a trip to Disneyland (in sufficient detail) could become an illegal act.   

       I wonder though, although record and playback might be possible (I really doubt you'd be able to record and playback from one person's memory into another, not meaningfully anyway, though it would be interesting to see what that felt like) recall is more than just replaying a recorded piece of data - the only search criteria you'd have would be date/timestamp - so in order to get the proper Eidetic memory, you'd need to go over everything in order to index it (good memories, bad ones, times where you're thinking about blue things, interactions with members of the family etc) - some people think this is what is going on while we dream - but if you went over it consciously, you'd be improving your memory anyway, since a reinforced experience (i.e. one experienced or relived multiple times) will embed itself in natural memory anyway, lessening the requirement for the technology.
zen_tom, Apr 16 2007

       Would something like this make it possible to share memories? Eject my memory module and give it to someone else, make copies and etc. I think this would be the point of difference between people with eidetic memory and the kind of people that the RIAA go after.
emjay, Apr 17 2007

       [emjay], that would remain to be determined. Brain-neurons are wired as individually as fingerprints. Data that one brain can routinely interpret may not be recognize-able by a different brain.
Vernon, Apr 17 2007

       Marked For Deletion: WIBNI.. we were all were like Johnny Mnemomic   

       I'm visualizing a DVD ROM drive lodged in the fissure between the brain halves...
ye_river_xiv, Apr 17 2007

       [Zen tom] said: - some people think this is what is going on while we dream -   

       Speaking of dreams; they are something I would like to be able to record.
Since they only supposedly last for a few seconds a piece, it shouldn't use too much storage space.

       Disagree with [mfd] - since so many people are working on this sort of stuff, it has to qualify as an invention. Extensively halfbaked in science fiction, though.
moomintroll, Apr 17 2007

       Two-way taps - yep, that's the magic touch.   

       Nothing original about this.
DrCurry, Apr 17 2007

       [Treon] .,- !
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2007

       This isn't a new idea (although I'm sure the author is acting in good faith), nor would it work as described, since it falsely equates the internal feeling of "experience" with the outside nerve input, neither of which are the same as having long-term memory of something happening.   

       (For example, one thing that memory gives you is the ability to voluntarily recall specific details, as well as to unconsciously use it when making related decisions.)   

       The much discussed experience recorder would work to the extend that a brain hasn't configured itself to precisely match one human's specific sensorium. That's probably different for different sensors. For example, if your photosensitive receptors are slightly differently distributed from mine, my activation pattern might look slightly blurry when played on your eyes, like a VCR tape head that is slightly maladjusted.
jutta, Apr 18 2007

       [jutta], I am not falsely equating internal "experience" with the outside nerve input. I'm simply saying that if we can catch nervous-system signals before they are processed AS "experience", then duplication of those signals (via playing the recording) at the tapping point should lead to equivalent processing and equivalent "experience".   

       I don't see any easy way to capture the experience-itself-in-progress, nor do I see any easy way to tap memories (since pieces of each seem to be scattered across the brain).   

       I do know that things experienced by "the mind's eye", which allows internal visualizations of either memories or imaginations (and is also fired up during dreams), can be quite realistic-seeming. Once upon a time I was driving to a friend's house to mess around with some new computer stuff, and I was thinking enough about what I was going to do when I got there that I paid insufficient attention to my driving. So there I was, eyes wide open and totally drug-free, driving down Street A and somehow imagining I was actually on Street B (they are similar in some respects). The illusion was shattered by a fortunately-not-injurous traffic accident. Street A has a stop-light where Street B, at the equivalent location, doesn't....   

       Anyway, I have no reason to doubt that a recording of tapped sensory data can't feel as realistic as the original data. Especially if merely playing back a memory can be as realistic as described above.
Vernon, Apr 18 2007

       //I'm simply saying that if we can catch nervous-system signals before they are processed AS "experience", then duplication of those signals (via playing the recording) at the tapping point should lead to equivalent processing and equivalent "experience".//   

       Actually, this could be problematic - since a fair bit of signal processing occurs in the sense organ before it's fed into the brain. Some of this processing is inherent, other parts learnt. For example, the signal received from the optic nerve is not a bitmap of light and dark, but a multi-layered flow of information about vertical lines, horizontal lines, static areas of contrast, areas of contrast moving vertically, areas of contrast moving horizontally, and so on - much of this processing being performed by small groups of cells placed behind the retina (and reprocessed by a layer of cells place behind these, and so on) that pre-process the inputs from the rod and cone cells before sending it up the optic nerve.   

       The arrangement of these neural preprocessors could easily be unique between people - to the point where one set of signal types might be entirely alien to a brain wired to receive a different set. Certainly an interesting experiment.   

       I remember hearing about a set of experiments where a CCD was wired (via a huge box of processing electronics) into the optic nerve of patients who had lost their sight, and who learned to see again - by all accounts the images were really low-resolution, like looking at dark snow on a tv set - but over time, the patients learnt to process the signal into meaningful information about their surroundings. This might be even more difficult to do on playback, especially if there are no 'surroundings' to test with your other senses.
zen_tom, Apr 18 2007

       [zen tom], you are thinking in terms of data recorded from Person A being fed into Person B. This Idea is NOT about that.   

       If YOU are Person A, and your nerve signals, however pre-processed, are copied on their way to the "experiencing" part of the cortex, then it logically follows that those played-back copies of those signals, sent to your "experiencer", should have no problems.   

       We just have to make sure we intercept/copy/save enough nerve-signals (and that is indeed a big order).
Vernon, Apr 18 2007

       We can remember it for you wholesale?   

       I imagine a future version of iTunes, where people go to download all the latest memories; snowboarding off Everest, driving and winning the Monaco Grand Prix, having sex with celebrities, being ripped apart by a lion (there will always be a market for horror).
mecotterill, Apr 15 2008

       I suspect the initial versions of this will need some form of massive bit rate reduction, for even as storage and bandwidth increase, the signals which become possible to record tend to exceed both.   

       There will be a need to form an experts group like MPEG, possibly called EMEG (Eidetic Memory Experts Group) to extract the relevant sensory data and discover appropriate experiential masking phenomena which can be exploited.   

       Then the lawyers will get involved, and everything will become complicated.
csea, Apr 16 2008

       I think this idea is making a very big assumption that the brain works a bit like a computer with a 'pipeline' of input, processing and storage and (hopefuly) a convenient place you can tap into between processing and storage. There's good evidence that processing happens in the brain at all stages and continues to happen during the life of a memory which would make any recorded experience of an event a very different thing from a genuine memory of that same event which had been rehearsed, processed and linked to other memories over the years.

Also, I seem to remember (from my university studies of cognitive psychology) that there is, in fact, no such thing as eidetic memory. Some people have much better memories than others, but it's not something qualitatively different from normal memory.
hippo, Apr 16 2008


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