Amanda and I attended an excellent colloquium this week, ‘Memories for Life’. This was the culmination of a project that sought to bring together a diverse range of academics with the aim of understanding more about how memory works and developing the technologies to enhance it:
The expert and very excellent panelists covered aspects of device engineering, computer science, psychology and neuroscience as well as ethical and legal issues. The stuff of our digital life may be created and controlled by us or it may be held externally, evidence of our interactions with the world around us. The colloquium looked at ways this stuff is growing, questioned how it is being used and how it might be used and looked at the implications for us as individuals and as a community.
As a magician in a former life, Professor Richard Wiseman showed us how magic tricks illustrate the sleight of hand that can fool us into certain beliefs that are not in fact true. To some extent magic actually manipulates memory and shows us that we can’t necessary trust what we see (or think we see). Similarly, Richard explained how psychological experiments that he has been involved with show just how open we are to suggestion. One example he gave was a s