Remember Me – Abuses of Technology and The Danger of Forgetting

Nilin stealing a memory    Memory. It’s what defines us and provides us with a sense of self in our lives. And yet, how many people appreciate or even think about their memory? What if you couldn’t remember anything? Would you still be the same person or would you become someone else? How much of your values and beliefs are based on knowledge and experiences that you remember? The mind is the one place no one but you can enter, your memories the one thing that can’t change. But what if they could be changed? What if you could forget your most painful memories, wipe them clean as if they’d never existed? What if you could manipulate another’s memory to make them believe whatever you wished? How safe would our memories be then?

In the game Remember Me those aren’t just questions, they’re the reality of the world. The corporation Memorize has created a technology called Sensen that not only allows you to exchange memories, it can also be Nilinused to wipe away memories that you don’t want, the most horrible and painful moments that you want to forget. In and of itself this might not seem harmful, but when technology is abused and exploited good intentions fall by the wayside.

In Remember Me people have become so addicted to Sensen that they don’t know when to stop erasing memories. Like a person who has taken to many drugs and needs treatment, removing to many memories creates massive holes in a persons mind and they lose their sense of identity, becoming a mindless shell unless they receive treatment. Prisoners are stripped of their memories when they’re arrested and get them back when they’re released, supposedly. Sometimes a person’s memories degrade to the point that they no longer have a sense of identity and become a Leaper, a monster that attacks humans on sight. And these are only the beginnings of the problems Sensen has brought upon the world.

Nilin, the heroine of the story, is a Memory Hunter. Not only can she steal memories, but she can rewrite them, making you believe that certain things happened when they didn’t. This goes beyond simple brainwashing. Like opening a file on a computer and changing its content, you change the very fabric of the memory. And if you change the right memory, you could alter a person’s entire world view.

This in and of itself raises interesting questions. If you could make a man believe that he killed his wife and he commits suicide as a result, if you could turn an enemy into an ally by making them believe that your enemies are theirs, if you could effectively play God; how would you know when to stop?

It is rare that technology is deliberately developed for a nefarious purpose. And yet this can happen all to easily. As Remember Me shows, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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