According to Kurzweil’s theory, the brain learns and recognizes patterns, and then arranges this information in hierarchies that make it possible to recall ‘memories’ and make associations in order to understand how language works. But memories have a certain fuzziness to them. What is truth? What are lies? Do these things make up your identity? Somewhere between what you experience in the world and how you act in it, is a space for processing information and building knowledge. Memories are our interpretations of our experiences versus direct representations of our actions. They seem to be represented in the brain as networks of related concepts. One hypothesis is that a healthy memory system copes with massive amounts of information by forming connections between concepts based on associations we’ve developed through experience. (http://musicandmemory.org/) Then, when we’re trying to remember a piece of information our brain pulls up an assortment of associated concepts which ‘feel’ right, and thus, our cognitive experience is solely embedded in our understanding of the world as related to the stories we create for it. When trying to understand the origin of memories, scientists are led to this topic of synapses and their electrochemical relationships. Thus, memory, and therefore , language is regarded as means of expressing ones identity. There are many languages besides those that are written or spoken. By learning a new language, a person acquires a new way of knowing reality and of passing that knowledge onto others.
It’s curious to me that we automatically associate artificial intelligence with replicating the human brain. Isn’t there validity in modeling a programming system after a different kind of intelligence? Maybe one that is a hybrid of complex systems of thought that include other species. Thinking in this post-human way, we can start to speculate the future of memory enhancement capabilities that go beyond genetic modification/engineering. Only then can the future begin to enter the transhumanist world of cybernetics. Many people (ie. Ray Kurzweil) believe the absorption of technological devices into our bodies, to improve our day-to-day lives, is an inevitable next step. How would altering ourselves in this way change our identity? And furthermore, how would it effect our connection to other humans?