Friday, December 12, 2008

pictures at my own exhibition
i've sometimes hoped that our brains function somewhat like computers and our memories are simply files buried out of our immediate reach. i fantasize that someone will find a way to allow me to internally replay the feelings of those special moments in my life that i recall but don't actually remember. the computer model suggests to me a way but i have no real idea if my guess is right or possible 'in our lifetime'. its for the moment simply a nice 'logical fantasy'.
and then on the same day i happen on two relevant stories. first i read that '[japanese] researchers ... have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor.' the scientists are said to imagine the benign use of the technology for assisting the creative processes and therapy.
and then i happen on a blog in something called adlab which had also reported the first story earlier. these guys tell me that that '[american] scientists have developed a computerised mind-reading technique which lets them accurately predict the images that people are looking at by using scanners to study brain activity. the study raises the possibility in the future of the technology being harnessed to visualise scenes from a person's dreams or memory.' [emphasis in the original as i say in lawyer things]
perchance will my fantasy be made real by modern science? will scientists go on from accessing files currently open in my brain to the stored ones? will i get to see or feel my own replays? probably my grandchildren will but here's the rub. the scientists imagine the display on a public monitor: i'm not even sure i want any kind of display at all - just something that allows my brain to do a replay. and the public display of my - or anyone's secret memories - obviously leads to possibilities that my anti-paranoid self finds scary. advertising and social scientists look forward to the brave new worlds suggested but i'm afraid the price for my fantasy might be too high to pay. i hope my grandchildren notice.

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