by J.R. Wagner
My 'friend' is a doctor. A Neurologist to be precise. In his day job he deals with traumatic brain injury patients. On the side he runs a research program studying the implementation of a nanotechnology based medicine into stimulating brain function.
What is nanotechnology?
According to the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology CRN
Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale.
Nanotechnology is the engineering of tiny machines — the projected ability to build things from the bottom up inside personal nanofactories (PNs), using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, highly advanced products. Ultimately, nanotechnology will enable control of matter at the nanometer scale, using mechanochemistry. Shortly after this envisioned molecular machinery is created, it will result in a manufacturing revolution, probably causing severe disruption. It also has serious economic, social, environmental, and military implications.
Tiny machines. Got it?
-that's about the extent of my knowledge anyway.
So he takes these little machines, mixes them with some other stuff, puts it all in a nasal spray and aerosolizes it into the nasal cavity of his research subjects. Somehow, these little guys make their way to the brain and do what they are supposed to do.
What are they supposed to do?
Well, in this case they are able to trace the same path as an event that your brain encodes as a memory. Once they traced this path, which is a crazy web through the brain storing different parts of the memory-smell, sight, etc. they were able too map exactly how a memory gets stored.
Now comes the crazy part. Now that they had a map of where the memory is stored, they are able to, for lack of a better term, access a memory -any memory. Full memory recall. Insane, right? There are loads of implications with that finding alone.
After some tinkering (he said it, I didn't ask what tinkering with someone's brain meant) he was able to simultaneously stimulate the storage areas of a particular memory which damaged those areas and, as a result, destroyed the memory.
After hearing that part I felt like I should be sitting on the bridge of the star ship Enterprise.
My 'friend', while clearly a genius, isn't exactly gifted in the common sense department (or the morality department for that matter). He decided to perform some 'off-site' testing where he would administer the nasal spray to an unsuspecting 'test subject' and would upload the memory storage map to a hand-held device in his pocket. He took the device back to his lab where he essentially programs a second batch of nano-spray that will, on command, begin the full memory recall.
As if it doesn't sound crazy (not to mention illegal) enough, in order to perform the recall, he has to somehow bring the 'test subject' into the lab -something about the equipment necessary. But worry not because the subject won't remember a thing! In the lab he can file through the memories (apparently there isn't any real rhyme or reason to the memory storage -it isn't chronological) until he finds one he wants to remove (maybe the one of him abducting the patient and dragging her into his lab).
Just like that -memory gone and no suspicions whatsoever. One would think he'd be using the memory recall capabilities to say...I don't know...CURE Alzheimer's! But no, he believes he can save the world via different avenues.
I have a growing concern that since I was an idiot and allowed him to perform a memory mapping on me, that he may take advantage of that knowledge and have since distanced myself from him. I also think he has done some side work on his lab partners who haven't blabbed a word about their discoveries -this is Nobel Prize level research and nobody knows about it (they may have).
My question is whether I go to the authorities (or someone in power) and report my 'friend' and run the risk of possibly having my memory of him totally erased before I can do anything about it. He says he's 'off-site tested' dozens of people and none are the wiser. Scary stuff, right? Imagine if this got into the hands of bad people (not that he isn't acting malicious) this could be a game changer when it comes to terrorism, spying, warfare, everything, really.
When I ponder what this technology looks like in the hands of people with actual power and ill-intent I'm somewhat comforted by the fact that it remains in the hands of a dimwitted yet brilliant man whose interest of late is making women he's pissed off over the years stop hating him. Perhaps doing nothing is the best way to go.
I'll need to ponder this conundrum a bit more. Any advice would be appreciated.
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