“What’s on your mind?” asks Facebook. Above the question asks whether I’d like to “Add Photos/Video,” and below it asks if I’d like to include other people within my vicinity, my current location, and how my emotional state is during this thought process. Most importantly, though, it asks whether I’d like to share this thought with the general public, or a few select friends, or maybe just to myself. All-in-all, Facebook represents a very low-tech artificial brain.
The posts that I’d make would be, as author Juan Enríquez would call them, “digital tattoos”–they act as long-lasting imprints of myself, of my thoughts and of my beliefs at the current moment. Instead of having to rely on neuronal relay signaling to remember a certain memory – what I’d eaten, where I went one day, what my friend said to me on another day – despite the fact that sometimes these flashbulb-memories can be quite inaccurate, we now merely need to rely on social networks like Facebook and Google+.
As a low-tech artificial brain, its ability to attain enough memory storage capacity for a lifetime is very sufficient! We no longer need to suffer from lost memories, or inaccurate memories. Using social networks like Facebook and Google+, I am almost literally merging with the machines already, because my means of memory extraction no longer rely solely on my biological brain, but both it and my online artificial brain as well.
As we continue our scientific endeavors in mapping the human brain, and subsequently reverse-engineering it, imagine reaching a point where artificial brains become commercially available to everyone, as an implant the size of a chip. Everything that occurs throughout your life – each synaptic brain wave communicated between neurons every second of your day – will be recorded and backed up, ready to be accessed at your own convenience.
Like Facebook and Google+, maybe we’ll begin sharing our memories, dreams, and experiences with the rest of the world – a truly bio-digital interconnected global social network derived from each individual’s brain. Better yet, imagine a day where Alzheimer’s disease is thrown into the dustbin of history, allowing people to flourish and live happy, healthy lives with no fear of lost memories or even lost acquaintances of friends, family and loved ones.
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