Is a New Memory-Enhancing Device, Currently in Development, a Bad Idea?

By Alexa Erickson |* Collective Evolution

If you had the ability to improve your memory and intelligence by implanting a device into your brain, would you do it?

When I think of this question, I am reminded of the movie Limitless, in which  a struggling writer is introduced to a nootropic drug called NZT-48 that allows him to fully utilize his brain and vastly improve his lifestyle.

There are some undeniable points to be made about a drug, or an implant, that can enhance intelligence: If people have the choice to enhance their mental abilities with medication or an implant, what does that mean for society? Because if we all have access to the same enhancement, would it be an enhancement, or a new reality?

But then it leads to the question, are we coming up with these devices because our lifestyles are so bad? The way we eat, our toxic environments, drug use, alcohol use, over stressed, overworked, and medications…

Why are we coming up with enhancements that could easily be solved by healthy lifestyle and eating? Why not focus on simply fixing the root problem?

Computers In Our Brains

Back in 1998, Andy Clark and David Chalmers claimed that a computer can work with our brains to extend the mind, thereby offering additional processing capabilities as we break down and solve problems, as well as an extension for our memories complete with information, images, etc.

Now,  a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, Theodore Berger, is capitalizing on this very proposal as he works to bring to market human memory enhancement via a prosthetic implanted in the brain.

Berger has been working on the prosthetic for 10 years, and claims it can function as  an artificial hippocampus, which is the area in the brain associated with memory and spatial navigation. Berger’s goal is for the device to change short-term memory into long-term memory, and hopefully store it as the hippocampus does.

Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, who is working with Berger, says: “The idea is that if you have loss of memory function, then you could build a prosthetic for the hippocampus that would help restore the circuitry, and restore memory.” Johnson says that people with memory disorders from traumatic experience or aging will be the first people to test this form of prosthesis. “The first super-humans are those who have deficits to start with,” says Johnson.

[Read more here]


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