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Science & Technology

'Total Recall' could soon become a reality

By T.K. Randall
August 28, 2019 · Comment icon 15 comments

Would you visit a 'Total Recall' clinic ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Glogger / Chris Aimone
Scientists report that they have successfully implanted a false memory into a mouse through brain manipulation.
In the 1990 science-fiction movie 'Total Recall', Arnold Schwarzenegger's character visits a company that implants false memories of adventures, relationships and other life-changing experiences.

But just how realistic is the idea of implanting memories of things that never happened ?

In a recent study, scientists demonstrated that it is possible to create a false memory in animals by simulating brain cells in the pattern of a natural memory.

To do this, researchers effectively reverse engineered an existing memory by mapping the specific brain circuits underlying its formation, then reproducing it in the brain of a separate subject.
According to the team's findings, the implanted memories were indistinguishable from a memory created through normal means.

While such a technique is currently infeasible for use in humans, the research seems to suggest that the potential is there for implanting memories once the technology catches up.

But would you really want to have memories of a holiday or relationship that never happened ?

Such technology is likely to one day open up a broad set of social and ethical implications.

Source: Scientific American | Comments (15)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Stiff 5 years ago
  From what I'd heard, they hid a piece of cheese in a scent proof container and had the mice find it in the first go, changed its locations and had it repeat this in the second time hidden from all of it's 5 sense.  
Comment icon #7 Posted by Seti42 5 years ago
This kind of thing might be useful for helping some severely traumatized people get on with their lives. But it wouldn't work Total Recall style, I mean, you'd remember going to Recall to have a fake luxury sex vacation implanted. Not to mention all the evil such a technique could do if done to implant specific false memories designed to totally mess with people and/or fundamentally change their belief systems and public opinions... Speaking of evil, the espionage industry would be all over it, too.
Comment icon #8 Posted by pixiii 5 years ago
It could be extremely useful for severely traumatised people absolutely.   However, it could be used for bad....very, very BAD. And people would be none the wiser.  Scary.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Golden Duck 5 years ago
Could you use it for reading books or learning?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Phaeton80 5 years ago
Yeah, or learning martial arts.. OR.. or curling! Only side effect: you could find yourself suddenly a Manchurian Candidate.. or experiencing MPD. Youll be your very own dr Janus!
Comment icon #11 Posted by Impedancer 5 years ago
I would love to erase parts of my own memory.....or reboot it hmmm..
Comment icon #12 Posted by spartan max2 5 years ago
Raises lots of questions. Slightly off topic but, For one should something be punished for a crime they have no memory of doing 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Scholar4Truth 5 years ago
Comment icon #14 Posted by Tom1200 5 years ago
or something equally preposterous, like being happy and contented?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Mr Supertypo 4 years ago
I still remember when me and all my family used to gather at the table and drink the new coca cola orange with no sugar and lots of vitamins essential for a fat free diet. Ah childhood memories.

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