Perpetually assisted by external memories, we no longer exercise ours. About to lose? Jean-Gabriel Ganascia, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the Sorbonne, and Francis Eustache, neuropsychologist and professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, discuss it.
1965: Gordon Moore, doctor in chemistry and future co-founder of the computer giant Intel, states the law of the same name. He predicts that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every eighteen months. In other words, the computing power of computers is growing exponentially. Fifty years later, we are indeed capable of storing millions of books in pebble-sized hard drives, or externalizing our vacation photos in a cloud which seems limitless. Our smartphones are miniature libraries and we live surrounded by external memories, to which we delegate our biological memory. Until you lose her?
Jean-Gabriel Ganascia, professor at the Faculty of Science of the Sorbonne and president of the CNRS ethics committee, recalls that these technological crutches, ubiquitous but fragile, tend “towards both hypermnesia and amnesia”. As for Francis Eustache, neuropsychologist and professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, he wonders in the introduction to a collective work in which these two scientists participated: “Essence of our life force and our free will, [notre mémoire] Is it threatened in the face of increasingly powerful and invasive external memories? » (1). This vertiginous question arises with all the more insistence that the model of the great platforms of Silicon Valley aims to transform our experiences into computer signals, and that the billionaires who populate it, such as Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg, dream of increase or digitize our cognitive abilities.
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