Boiman: My name is Oren Boiman. I’m the CEO and co-founder of Magisto. These days our brains are constantly bombarded by messages, images, moving pictures. We have so little time to immerse in an experience before the next thing comes and grabs our attention. We’re frantically trying to cling to the moment and we call it the new memory drug, when in anxiety of forgetting we take out the camera and pull the trigger. Here, you click, and you remember. Or did you? Maybe you just got stuck with a gazillion pieces of content that you’re never going to see again. What will we remember from the huge pile of pixels we all have? Probably very, very little.
How do we form memories of the things that we do remember? That’s what neuroscientists call episodic memory, the memory of episodes that happen in our life. Episodes are like multisensory stories that our brain keeps as we go. Episodic memory have very strong relationships to the emotional parts in the brain, so intense emotion makes us keep richer episodes and when we recall those episodes it evokes similar sorts of feelings. Remember that first kiss, or the first time you looked at your baby? Episodes encoded as emotional engaging stories are the basic building blocks, the atoms of our memories.
So we go back to the memory drug. The brain that controls the trigger fools itself to think it captured an episodic human memory, but actually we just captured bits of data of computer memory. So in what sense has technology helped us have better memories? I actually think that the handpicked photo album with the handwritten notes and the […] inside told a better memorable story than what we have today. We have traded off quality with quantity of our stories and our memories, and these get our stories and our memories flatter, less emotionally engaging, less memorable.
Surprisingly, our industry is mostly focused on creating more, bigger, faster pieces of content that are easily transferred between people, but who is going to create emotionally engaging memorable stories out of the billions of life experiences captured every day? Is it we, the people? We don’t have a second left to breathe, and it’s too complicated. We won’t do that. So what does this reflect on ourselves, on our generation? Is our society doomed to get flatter and flatter with the quality or our stories? I think it’s the role of technology to get back quality to the quantity of stories and memories we’ve created.
So to sum up, what will we remember? That is pretty straight forward. With the flood of information, we will remember only emotionally engaging stories, because that’s how our brains are wired. The open question for this audience is whether you think that technology should shift its focus towards the quality of stories rather than just the quantity and whether your organizations are helping to create better stories and better memories or just add noise to the system. The answer, your answer to this question is what I hope you remember from this talk.