Would You Edit Your Memories?

June 29, 2009 by Rico Mossesgeld  
Filed under Geekery

Seems scientists have isolated the chemicals responsible for creating and maintaining memories. More interesting is the discovery of a chemical that can suppress memories. As reported:

Fenton, who specializes in spatial memory in mice and rats, devised a way to imprint animals with memories for where things are located. He taught them to move around a small chamber to avoid a mild electric shock to their feet. Once rats learn, they do not forget. Placed back in the chamber, they remembered how to avoid the shock.

But when injected with ZIP (a Zeta inhibitory peptide) directly into their brains, they had to start over again and learn how to avoid the electric shock. “When we first saw this happen, I had grad students throwing their hands up in the air, yelling,” Dr. Fenton said. “Well, we needed a lot more than that one study.”

238px-chimp_brain_in_a_jarH+ Magazine then discusses the potential dangers of developing ZIP into a therapeutic memory-deletion tool. Personally, I’m more interested in seeing scientists develop methods to transplant memories. It would be really useful for other mice if they could get a copy of the same set of memories that allowed their compatriot to avoid electrical shocks.

And yes, it would be great if we could purchase memories from humans who’ve gone through the trouble of attaining them. Not those special life moments which are rightfully unique to our individual personalities, but more functional memories—knowledge—that would help us do more in less time.

Remember The Matrix? Trinity needed to operate a helicopter within a virtual reality. So she had one of her team download the memories needed to do so directly into her brain, allowing her to do her part to save the day. What’s wrong with buying memories for the practical stuff, like cooking a good Ratatouille?

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