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Our imperfect memories

Posted on: September 2, 2017

Whether you have a good memory or not, your memory is imperfect. According to this video, our memories are like fake news if we can only compare one part of a book with another part of the same book.


Video source

The video went on to explain how it was psychologically easy to implant false memories or reshape existing ones, and then influence a person to believe falseness as fact.

If we shave the our memory problem down to its core, the issue is that we do not have one or more other reliable sources for comparison.

Take the recent fake news scandal about one of our Ministers of Education — and later our Director-General of Education — supposedly claiming that Singapore was winning the wrong academic race. The person who wrote the article reported a false memory.

It was impossible to prove because the event was not open to everyone. It was only when the speech transcript and video recording were shared months after the fact that there were sources for comparison.

In a similar vein, the invisibility of a learner’s thinking can lead a teacher to make assumptions. To compare what the teacher and student knows, the teacher can require that student to make their thinking and learning visible.

I do not rely on just my memory. I externalise it by tweeting, blogging, photographing, and video recording. These provide evidence of memories and learning that I can compare with what I have in my head.

A value of current technology it is that is helping us arrive at the Cyborg Age. Our memories are less fallible because we augment and improve them with various technologies.

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