Long-term memory loss in immortals

Andrea Gallagher (drea@alumni.stanford.org)
Fri, 25 Jul 1997 13:56:18 -0700

At 11:07 AM 7/25/97 -0400, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
[huge snip of many truths]
>[As an aside, although I remember the
>problem being smaller years ago, I must admit that my memory isn't
>what it once was -- oh, for a limitless solid state infrastructure
>instead of this limited cranium full of squishy neurons!]

Now, nevermind the usual lament about our memory not being what it used to
be. (I suspect I only remember the old list because I haven't read it for
so long, so those memories haven't been overwritten by new memories of the
list.) I think Perry might have an actual problem down the road, when he
gets *really* old.

I'm curious if people thing long-term memory retention will be a problem
for people who live much longer in their current bodies and brains. Kim
Stanley Robinson describes this in his Mars trilogy (don't even get me
STARTED about his idiotic economics - grrrrr), but he doesn't give much
support for why memory should fade as badly as he makes it. He seems to be
extrapolating from current aging trends, and then makes his longevity
treatment incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and fixing memory
problems as it does other problems of aging.

If we don't make his assumptions, do we still think this will be a big
concern? If we fix Alzheimer's, what are the reasons to think that
long-term memory is more limited for 140 year olds than for 40 year olds?
If this really is a problem, maybe it's a use for those life-recordings,
no? It would suck if you lost all the experiences that happened between
childhood and when you get uploaded.

Personally Concerned,