By Miranda Waddell
The year is 2090, and most of the world’s memories are contained in one single, all-encompassing, free-to-download phone application.
People still live these fragments out in real-time: going on vacation, visiting their grandparents, seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, et al. But there are key differences to memory-making in the new technological era, creating a rift between humanity’s ability to recall the past emotionally or in sensory-based waves, and the means by which we store these moments for ages to come.
After countless global crises, the intake of biotechnology to better suit our changing and singular world, and the automatization of what it means to “create” something to remember, to make a memory is to perform something outside of oneself now. It is a service for the everyday earthling, meant to make the daily of performative living seem meaningful, long-lasting; pure, even.
At some point in time, it was no longer important to be able to tell a story or remember an event happening: the emotions tied to it and the senses that were alerted, along with memories, have become bastardized into more binary information, to be stored in databases across the globe, accessible to millions.
This has been made possible through Splinter, a branch of some nameless and global subsidiary, made possible after the Diplomatic Global Agreement of 2079.
The application’s job was originally to provide a hub for all displaced memories: the photographs taken with less significance to life’s neverending saga; clips taken at hotels, parks, and restaurants that would soon be forgotten.
It was an app meant to catch the slippage of there being too many memories across the world, as the population increased and the ability to find meaning in daily life decreased.
For the last 11 years, this app has worked perfectly. Easily tap into whatever it is the device operator did on any given date, and share it with others. After all, the ability to share and signal to one another that a concept is important (rather than its execution) was peak presentation.
Wondering about the meal you ate with an old roommate? Splinter remembers. The last conversation you had with a dying relative you’d never see again? Splinter remembers.
The convenience of “storing memories away for later” overtook nations by storm, and brain productivity began meeting global expectations in folds. The easier it was to forget, the easier it was to work. The process expedited and grew alarmingly fast, as citizens of the world soon realized not every moment mattered as strongly as they’d been told before.
It was easier, more productive, to upload a day or week’s worth of work and visiting to some unseen cloud. Let it be saved and seen later, was the general consensus around the average day.
Global operators began noticing the widespread trend of lacking reviews over each day and realized a way to maximize work ethic, and bury personalization: delete the majority of these “plain memories” into the ether, and let the singularity fill in the blank space.
Artificial technology has given the world the potential to augment each day with color, life, and falsified significance. If the daily, forgotten memories of the world burned away and got replaced with more basic, and less intrusive memories set up by a closely-observant AI, storage would last forever, and distracted living would crumble underneath the Catered Experience.
This is how you lived, this is how you worked. Therefore, this is how you’ll succeed, and this is how you’ll die. Plainly. To smear over an individual’s impressions of each day was to vanquish any doubt that life in the future was dark or vapid.
Giving oneself a global sense of meaning, relating to a “world experience” rather than one’s own, made it easier to manipulate the choices made in the present, and it’d eventually ensure a more controllable future.
The episode centers mainly on the celebration of personal pasts, and eventually narrates its downfalls, as a less personalized future seems more convenient, and a global humanity more docile.
We see eyes become blank, and laughs become empty, as each memory caves into itself and becomes part of the same watery story.
To be an individual was to waste one’s own time; and in a world where time is measured by each person’s usefulness in each moment, memory has lost value, become faceless, and nullified.