23 Feb

Scientists Develop Black Mirror-esque Memory Chip

The Netflix show’s predictions are becoming a reality

Written By Amina Kaabi

If you haven’t seen Netflix’s critically acclaimed show Black Mirror – you should. Each episode presents some kind of alternate reality in which some aspects of our present lives are either exaggerated or completely made-up—both cases are equally terrifying.  

 

The majority of the storylines are centred around the human relationship with technology, but nothing is scarier than the Season 3 episode Nosedive where human life revolves around an app that rates everyone’s each and every action, resulting in an overall popularity 5-star-system rating.

 

Comparisons were made to our modern-day social media ‘like’ system, and the episode left us all wondering to which extent does the show reflect reality? Well, Wired magazine investigated Zhima Credit, an app originally launched in China that gathers people’s personal data to assess their social ranking—and its eerie similarity to the show’s scenario completely blurs the line between fiction and reality.

 

Last week scientists blurred the line even further by announcing the development of an implant that can increase memory. The report cites that the device is still experimental, but it has been proven to improve memory by 15 percent.

 

The chip works by sending electric pulses to the brain, which in turn boosts memory if the brain isn’t working well on its own. Researchers intend for the device to aid those who suffer with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia. However, they do warn of potential misuse by anyone looking for a simple memory boost.

 

But for anyone who has seen the last episode of Black Mirror’s first season, The Entire History of You—where most people have a ‘grain’ implanted that allows them playback their memories—this latest development is especially frightening considering the implied implications memory recall can have.

 

We’re still a long away from achieving total recall—this memory chip took researchers years and more than 70 million dollars to develop—but as much as we’re impressed with humanity’s technological advancements, the Black Mirror fan within us is left quite unsettled.