Thursday, 31 January 2008

Where is My….?

Poking at the brain to reveal old memories dates back at least to the Penfield era, I suppose what is novel is stimulating an area which was not thought to contain this type of data and can be implanted with permanent electrodes. While the procedure may well turn out to have major success in halting some malfunctions or even reversing losses of ones personal history, I’ve wondered about the other side of the coin. Joyous recollections of your 6th birthday, Aunt Maude hilariously garbed in her Halloween costume 5 years ago and reminisces of the last tropical vacation would certainly be worth remembering and maintaining. Might there be a few darker tidbits lodged deep within the cranial crevasses? Once the wires are implanted, I imagine there would be periodic pulses to keep the system firing much like a pacemaker, but how does one control the data stream? Privately divulging inner thoughts to a medical team is one thing, revealing your history of sexual proclivities at the next church meeting is another. Before installation the medical community may have to devise a quick kill switch to abort sudden outputs of those embarrassing or repressed memories.
And then, from a news story on the same web page about Tasers, I realized this could be a boon to police departments. After the current string of incidents involving the use of these pacifiers in North America lately, I can foresee the next statement from a police spokesperson. “I can assure the public that the members involved, in tasering the subject in question three times, were merely trying to aid the memory deficient gentleman in locating his vehicle in the parking lot.”