Apple Says 'Black Mirror' Memory Implants Are Nearly Here

For the Black Mirror episode "The Entire History of You", dating back to 2011, screenwriter Jesse Armstrong imagined a world where everyone recorded every moment of their lives via an implant tucked behind the ear. It was then possible to rewind your existence, the happiest moments as well as the most heart-breaking ones. The episode told the story of Liam, whose relationship was in free fall and who kept replaying significant moments from it.

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(Photo: Channel 4)

The application of this technological revolution to romantic relationships was as glamorous as it was edifying and showed how relationships between people could evolve in the years to come (spoiler: in the case of the series, not in the right direction!).

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Tom Gruber, co-creator of Siri, Apple's artificial intelligence, agrees with this view. At a TED conference in Vancouver, he explained: "I believe AI will make personal memory enhancement a reality. I think it's inevitable."

Facebook, Elon Musk and many more companies from Silicon Valley are also working on the next high-tech revolution, which would make telepathy with an A.I. a reality. Gruber wants to reassure the public as to the risks to personal privacy though and envisions applications that are more beneficial than those that would sabotage a couple.

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In particular, the implant could allow people with severe psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia, to make great progress. " "It's the difference between a life of isolation and one of dignity and connection”, he commented, adding: "We get to chose what is and is not recalled and retained. It’s absolutely essential that this be kept very secure.” No shit, Sherlock.

This technology could also be of assistance to victims of sexual assault or other kinds of violence: it could eventually be used as irrefutable evidence in lawsuits. Another area of interest would be health and the prevention of diseases like cancer. The flip side would be a sanitising of society (although that’s already rampant), and we might as well say goodbye to our right to privacy.

We are not there yet (we first still have to find a way to safely insert such implants into the human brain), but this future could be knocking at our door sooner than expected.

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By Marion Olité, published on 27/04/2017

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