The University of Southampton

Predicting the future of memory

Published: 
27 November 2006
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Understanding memory is central to understanding what it means to be human. In recent years neuroscientists and psychologists have made great strides in identifying exactly how memory works: how memories are formed, where they are stored and how they are retrieved. At the same time technologies for managing and storing information – which are analogous to human memory – are becoming ever more powerful and sophisticated.

These two strands will be brought together at THE FUTURE OF OUR PASTS, a colloquium to be held at the British Library on Tuesday December 12, 2006. The event will see computer scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, sociologists, librarians and information professionals debating some of the key issues surrounding the science and technology of memory:

· Will it be possible for us to replace parts of our memory with artificial aids?

· How can technology help those with memory disorders?

· Will communities be able to use technology to create or preserve their communal experiences?

· What will happen when our entire lives are available to us to look back on?

· How will this change the way we live?

· What legal, ethical and political implications can we expect?

The event is organised by the Memories for Life (M4L) Network and is intended to define the scale of these trends, to help experts and academics understand what to expect and to begin to shape the agenda for future research and development.

Professor Nigel Shadbolt, a Principal Investigator of the Network, said: “M4L is a project to bring together a diverse range of scientists, academics and experts to study and understand how memory works and to develop the technologies needed to enhance it. THE FUTURE OF OUR PASTS aims to foster concrete two-way interaction between different academic and scientific disciplines – only by such an interdisciplinary approach can we hope to promote the effective use and management of both the human and computerised memory.”

The colloquium will take place all day. Attendance is free, but the audience is strictly limited to 200 places. Lunch will be provided. Anyone wishing to attend, or needing information should contact: info@memoriesforlife.org

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