I both wish for and dread the day that we are able to truly explore our own minds. To be able to better trace those neuron pathways that hold our memories, both following and recreating the specific signals that are the lifeblood of those thoughts. There are so many times where I will misplace my car keys and I find myself subconsciously moving towards the computer. I stop to ask myself why and realize that it is because I am trying to google “where did I put my car keys?”
With modern technology, information is everywhere. I can learn about pretty much anything I choose to. If I want to learn about how an engine works, I could find out about each and every part, material, and even how to build one myself. I can study dishes and dinners, what the ingredients are and how they are prepared, even if they use vegetables that I never knew existed or parts of animals that I did not know were edible. The wealth of human knowledge is vast.
Even with the wonders of the internet and information technology, I still find myself unable to answer the questions most relevant to my own life, whether they be simple physical problems such as which shelf in the fridge I left the soy sauce, or the more mental such as how I should day today or should I go see this new movie. I can find advice from other people from the internet and I can read about their own personal experiences and thoughts, but they certainly cannot give me the answers as they do not have the answers specific for me and my experience. There is no way that a stranger could know where I placed my car keys, unless they were some kind of a stalker or thief or something of the like.
The answer to those questions are in my own brain and nobody else’s. My brain is the only database that I have to search and theoretically I should be able to search it and find the answers if I try hard enough, but that just does not always seem to be the case. Try as I may to rebuild the memory of me putting down my keys last, I can never seem to get it right on the first or second or third try. This must mean that there is either a problem in the database, my brain holding the memory itself, or the search engine, my method of retrieving that memory.
Regardless of which part was flawed, I believe that technology could be used to replace both of those things. We currently cannot perfectly recreate and model a brain and a memory, but I think that some day we will be. This has many implications. We would be able to search our mind and bring up that information. We would not need to worry about losing something as we could just search it with what I will call our Google Mind, because this seems like the kind of thing that Google would want to work on eventually.
If we could recreate our memories, we could truly experience something again instead of just trying to remember what it was like. Our first kiss, our childhood moments on the beach, anything we experienced. This could be really nice, but it could also be disastrous. Dwelling on the past and reliving your glory days does nothing to improve your current situation. But what I find interesting would be the possibility of sharing those experiences with others. Of course all brains are structured differently, so this would be a far greater degree of complexity, but it would be so wonderful to let somebody literally feel a feeling that you felt, spend a day in your shoes, know what it is like for you.
This could be not just for real events that happened in our lives, but thoughts we imagined as well. We are already getting to the point where we may be able to make digital constructs of mental visions, what about whole imagined stories or movies. While it is far, far away, it does not seem impossible. Instead of actors and directors, a movie could be made solely by the imagination of an imaginer.
The frightening part of this possible future technology is when one thinks of who would be able to access the information in your mind. Of course this would be useful for courts and criminal proceedings, but the idea of our thoughts being accessible is a frightening one. We all have thoughts and secrets we want to hide, even if they are not illegal. Minds wander to dark places and it would be better for those places to never be brought into the light.