Saving Real Life

Being able to save progress in a game is an invaluable feature to today’s games, no one wants to start again from the beginning. Saving a game means keeping everything you’ve completed in that game stays there, when you need to take a break for whatever reason, and you can pick the game up where you left off, no problems. We can kind of save in real life too, we use photos, scrapbooks, diaries and home movies to recall memories we’ve experienced in the past. These memories we have are imperfect, over time memories may fade or be completely forgotten (imagine something like this, Patrick Liddell rips and uploads the same video 1000 times until it is distorted so much that it becomes unrecognizable), we see these photos or diaries and we piece together what actually happened in those photos. Say a photo of a family holiday to the water-park, in the photo you and your family are sitting in a floatation tube, ready to go into the dark tunnel. You can probably remember that the line was really long and you had to walk up so many stairs to get there but all that waiting was worth it because the ride was awesome, these memories are the ones that made the day so they are easy to remember, but little things like how about the life guard? Was it a man or a woman? What colour was their shirt? Red or yellow? Small irrelevant things like this are easily forgotten because you don’t care about them.

So how can we get a perfect ‘save’ of someone’s life progress? To properly relive and revisit a moment, like a video game? We haven’t got an answer yet, but, some clever people at the University of Colorado have used a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine (fMRI) to effectively record memories. While the test subject was in the fMRI, they were shown a series of short clips from movie trailers, while the researchers recorded the brain activity. Using the recorded data they created a computational model  that used thousands of random 1 second clips from You-tube as a reference library, that recreated the brain activity as a kind of recognizable image. This research is a step in the right direction and maybe, one day, we’ll truly be able to save our progress.


Vsauce3: Can We Save in Real Life

Gallant Lab at University of Colorado: Memory Reconstruction

Patrick Liddell’s video experiment: