Memory (was Sex vs. sleep)

Harvey Newstrom (
Sat, 3 Jul 1999 15:43:15 -0400

I wrote:
> This is because the conscious mind filters everything and only records the
important stuff.

Recent research indicates that idiot-savants that have photographic memories do not have this filter. Everything they see is recorded permanently. It is theorized that this is the root of many of their problems. Instead of generalizing data into patterns that can be used to understand new events of the same pattern, these people record every single event without generalizing them into patterns. They can recall perfectly hundreds of prior events, but when the same thing happens again, they are at a loss to predict the outcome.

When transhumans develop perfect memories, I think such memories need to be kept accessible, but that generalization and pattern matching need to be maintained. I'm not sure if access to all the specific details provides too much data for pattern matching to work. It may be that if we are currently conscious of every detail at all times, that our minds will be too overloaded with data to make any sense out of it.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://> <>
Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.