Are You Concerned About Your Memory?
Whether they are members of the middle class, millionaires who can revel in luxury, or someone else altogether, a lot of people fear the prospect of losing their memory. In part, this is because losing their memory renders people helpless, not least because most tasks can't be completed without the skills embedded in their implicit memory. However, it should also be noted that losing their memory destroys an important part of what makes someone who they are on a very fundamental level, which should be all too familiar to those who are unfortunate enough to have had a loved one suffer from either Alzheimer's disease or something similar. Based on this, it should come as no surprise to learn that numerous parties are spending a vast amount of time, effort, and other resources on coming up with various ways to combat potential threats to a person's memory. As a result, it is not unreasonable to bet that memory implants will be hitting the market at some point in the future.
How Might Memory Implants Help People With Memory-Based Illnesses?
Memory implants can be sound like something out of science fiction. After all, a lot of science fiction is focused on characters with mechanical components installed in them for the purpose of providing them with superhuman capabilities. Most of these stories feature mechanical components that enable characters to lift more, run faster, see further, and perform other physical feats of note, but there are plenty that are interested in what future techniques and technologies might enable when it comes to the brain and thus the mind. This makes sense because in the end, the brain is a biological machine like the rest of the human body. As a result, we should be able to produce a winning outcome for the brain so long as we understand it.
Of course, understanding the brain is much easier said than done, not least because it is such a complex machine. Granted, we have made a lot of progress in recent times because of dedicated researchers, millionaire investors, and a wide range of other people, but that progress served more to illustrate how little we understand than anything else. Still, little progress is much better than no progress at all, which is why researchers have been able to produce winning outcomes by coaxing some rather interesting possibilities from the field.
For example, DARPA has been funding research looking into improving short-term memory. So far, this has resulted in a study involving epilepsy patients, which suggests that the research program's end goal of creating a memory implant might actually be doable. For those who are curious, the researchers looked at how the brains of their subjects would fire whenever they succeed at a task involving short-term memorization. Afterwards, they ran a second series of tests in which they used that information to stimulate the brains of their patients as said individuals were completing a task involving short-term memorization, which produced an average improvement of 37 percent. This research is still far from the point of being able to produce a memory implant, but even now, it is not impossible to see how it might lead to a luxury product meant for millionaires before being turned into something accessible for the rest of the population through a series of steps.
Likewise, other researchers have been producing results of their own. For example, there is a neuroscientist named Theodore Berger at the University of Southern California, who has been working on silicon chips that can mimic the signal processing of healthy neurons. This is important because said process is what enables the brain to form long-term memories, which is impossible for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and a number of other medical conditions that have disrupted their neuron networks. Berger and his team hasn't been able to prove the effectiveness of their creation for human brains, but they have managed to show its ability to help both rats and apes generate new long-term memories. On top of this, they have demonstrated that their creation can help apes retrieve long-term memories, which would be absolutely amazing if it is applicable to humans as well. With that said, it will be take time for Berger's team to make further progress, but the man is confident because of the leaps and bounds that have been made in the field of neuroprosthetics in recent times. After all, it hasn't been that long since scientists came up with a way to help people move robotic limbs with their minds, which is but one of those leaps and bounds.
Regardless, while the research in this field hasn't reached the point of producing a winning outcome that can be brought to market, it seems clear that it is on its way. Initially, it seems probable that its cost will make it something of a luxury for most people, but over time, it seems reasonable to bet that it will become more and more accessible as the necessary technologies become more and more refined.