A perfect memory

I’ve been talking about this a lot privately lately.

Now that we have technology that operates by default in a way where those computers retain a perfect memory that can’t be edited, forever, what will we do with it?

There is a seemingly endless amount of moral and ethical questions that come from this conversation.

There’s also typically a divide in most conversations similar to one based in politics or religion.

  • What if a public record couldn’t be removed that wasn’t intended to be public?
  • What if there could be no censor to what was stored?
  • What if all of that data flying around on the internet slowly entered a plain text internet?

Frankly speaking, I’m not sure we can understand it because humans don’t have a perfect memory and that’s to our benefit. The ramifications of technology like this are hard to fully comprehend socially and ethically.

Being human is a beautiful experience. Our memories allow us to heal, create, see things anew, and generally speaking, live happier lives. I’ve found myself in various conversations wondering as our memories fade, are the memories really gone or chemically has our brain decided they shouldn’t be used anymore? I have no idea. I’d hypothesize it’s a mix but I have no data to back that up.

I have no idea how to actually test that hypothesis.

The idea of something having a perfect memory is scary. I’m not sure I’d want one but I’d sure like the phone number of the person who does. What if we all had that person’s phone number? What would the effect be?

It’s exciting to think what effect this could have on life.

These technologies provide a perfect, unchangeable, invisible, unconvincingly and starkly unemotional account of all things in a public forum and they carry no cost. There’s already variants of this starting to percolate on the internet and I’m excited for the next versions that make global knowledge distribution more simple, free, and permanent.

More questions I keep hearing/feeling/asking:

  • What if the wrong things are stored?
  • What would should be stored?
  • Could it be set up so it couldn’t be taken down and a community wasn’t required?
  • Could these knowledge-bases be referenced like wikipedia for various decisioning?

I have no idea what the answers to these questions are but I think it’s an exciting time for computing and I’ve been having a lot of fun talking about this with friends.

Try it yourself. The strong opinions that come from people is pretty astounding.