In the grand scheme of things, we each have two important guides to a better future: our accumulated experiences and our memories. So would you wear a device that recorded yours?
There’s an innovation in the works that can help us sort through all of our experiences in a day and hone in on what really matters to us.
Just how many small, joyful moments are we forgetting about in this world that moves so quickly? And how could a device that stores our memories and emotions help us make more informed decisions about our lives? Or improve the quality of it for individuals who struggle with memory loss and retainment?
Let’s meet the person behind this piece of technology to learn about all of the new possibilities artificial intelligence can bring into each our lives.
“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them”
Imagine having the ability to go back in time and see all of those little moments that made your heart race. Those perfect nights with your friends, the little smile your partner gave you the first time you saw each other, that feeling of pride when you knocked a big presentation out of the park or the nervous excitement that filled you when you brought your baby home for the first time.
How would that change the stories we tell ourselves, and improve our decisions about what really matters?
Or, imagine, the heartbreak of memory loss. Not being able to simply recall if you ate breakfast or know that the oddly familiar person standing in front of you is actually your daughter; that you love chocolate donuts, or your favorite color is yellow.
We don’t have any way to reverse the effects of or prevent dementia and Alzheimers. We attempt to jog our loved one’s memories with our pleas and reminders of who they are—of who we are—and while we only want to be there and support them, this situation usually ends up exhausting and frustrating for everyone.
So what if we had memory aids that could record our memories and emotions and play them back?
What could we learn about our lives? How could our quality of life change?
After caring for his own loved one with memory loss, Neo Mohsenvand, a Ph.D. student at MIT Media Lab, has been diligently testing the innovation he’s come up with to create an artificial memory bank: Mnemo. By studying the neuroscience and psychology behind memory and tracking his brainwaves and biosignals, he’s been able to not only better understand cognitive decline but himself, and his own life, as well.
Neo gives us a look at what this wearable technology brings to the table, how he’s been using it, what he’s learned about our brains and how we can better take control of our lives in this video from the great channel, Quartz!
Now, there are a lot of questions and concerns that arise around privacy with Mnemo, and other future memory aids like it. But I’m sure figuring out how to make it and the “memory bank” safe for everyone is at the top of their list. So, while they figure that out, let’s put our focus on all of the possibility here!
“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”
—Corrie Ten Boom
We’ve already talked about how much of an impact this wearable technology could have on our loved ones in cognitive decline, but what about the rest of us? Why should we care about it?
Well, simply, there’s so much we miss. Those fleeting, small moments of happiness could make our lives so much more enjoyable if we were able to give them more attention. Because if we knew about those moments and how they impacted us, wouldn’t we seek them out more? It only seems natural.
You can think of it as journaling… but with less work. All you have to do is live your life and the artificial intelligence of Mnemo will take care of the rest.
How could recording memories affect your own medical situations?
How many times have you gone to the doctor and struggled to recall exactly when you started feeling something a bit off with your body? Are you able to tell them all the factors surrounding that situation? What you were drinking, eating, how you were sleeping, what your heartbeat was in that moment? How much more information could you attain from wearing a device like Mnemo that could help your physicians make a more informed diagnosis?
On top of this, imagine how other mental health studies will be affected! With more individuals using wearable technology like this, more data can be collected. And of course, whenever we find ourselves in a situation with more data, we find ourselves with a better grasp on what’s happening in the world. We may just end up with more effective medicines and therapies as a result.
It’s the difference in studying how people interact in their everyday environments versus in a lab. Which do you think would give more accurate representations of their experiences?
In his TED Talk, Neo discusses how this technology can help us all gain more control over our lives, simply by knowing more about ourselves.
We’re living in a time when an algorithm may know our own wants and lives better than we do. So how do we work with technology instead of being at its control? How could it improve our lives? Take a look!
If you head over to this video’s page on YouTube, TEDx has written a great bio on both Neo and the talented musician accompanying him, Hannah Campbell.
There’s a lot to consider here and still much to perfect with these kinds of memory aids before we can all get our hands on them. But just knowing that Mnemo and other innovations like it are in the works can help us imagine what we actually want to see in the world.
How can we use technology to help us enhance, appreciate, and protect the life we have? Or, maybe, build the life we want?
Instead of being afraid that technology is going to take over the world, maybe the healthier route is to imagine all the ways we can team up with it. And maybe, combining artificial intelligence with our humanity is our next step. Because, regardless of how you see devices like Mnemo, technology isn’t going anywhere. And having more options could be the very thing that keeps it from controlling our lives.
Stay open to new possibilities!
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”—Albert Einstein
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- “Wearable Technology That Records Memories.” YouTube, Quartz, 9 Oct. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLyk4SgScZg. Accessed 25 Feb. 2019. ↩
- “The Process of Making Lasting Memories | Mostafa (Neo) Mohsenvand & Hannah Campbell | TEDxYouth@CEHS.” YouTube, TEDx Talks, 9 Jan. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqaCXrhH4_4. Accessed 26 Feb. 2019. ↩