The 1990 film, Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, poses interesting ethical questions regarding memory. The movie tells the story of a man who undergoes a procedure to have false memories implanted in his brain. In this futuristic setting there is cutting edge technology that allows people to undergo virtual vacations and remember the vacations as if they actually occurred. Given the evidence that false memories can be accepted by people as their own, such as in the case of Paul Ingram and the lost-in-the-mall studies, it is not unrealistic to think that this technology may one day be available. However, the complications that arise in this movie from the procedure cause one to wonder if such technology should be adopted if it becomes possible. After undergoing the procedure Schwarzenegger's character appears to be unable to separate reality from his virtual memory. While such technology would be extremely tempting to take advantage of and allow people to "remember" doing things they otherwise never would have been able to do, the downside of such technology may be too large. Not to mention, the side effects on the human brain could be substantial if something goes wrong during the procedure. Given the advances in technology over the last few decades it is not unreasonable to think that such technology will be available in our lifetimes. Because of this, we are likely to be faced with many tough ethical questions in the future. What do you think about the use of such memory forming technology?
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