Monday, October 17, 2005

Episode #1 Total Recall and Personal Identity

In this Episode of the Sci Phi Show we look at the 1990 Paul Verhoven film Total Recall based on the Philip K Dick story, We Can Remeber It For You Wholesale.

Episode #1 (15 minutes 46 seconds)

Show Notes

Total Recall
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale
Memory and Personal Identity
Escape Pod
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Blogger Bob Mottram said...

Total Recall is one of my favourite movies. I remember at the time also seeing a film with a similar "did it really happen, or was it all a delusion?" theme, called Jacob's Ladder.

This is one of those movies which invites you to pick your own ending. Does Quaid really turn psychotic and dream up all the subsequent events, or not? You decide. And on a slightly more philosophical level, are your own memories real or invented? Actually, they're both. I've not read an awful lot of sci-fi books but I have done a lot with AI and particuarly machine vision systems for a long time, and the more I've learned about these things the more I've come to appreciate that a lot of the stuff we think we're perceiving we actually aren't. Our brains fill in the gaps most of the time, or just blatantly make stuff up if it seems plausible under the circumstances.

8:44 AM  
Blogger mental-escher said...

Great movie choice. Who are we really? The psychoprobe console, freeform delusions, memory and perception- is it all just a paranoid delusion, or is this really my life!

I think you've really hit upon a great premise for a podcast, and you're first one here is impressive indeed.

I'm subscribed.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Geck said...

The problem with asking whether an individual is just made up of their memories is that you have to start defining the word "memory" and that is really just a matter of opinion. If you use "memory" just to mean information content of the mind, then you are left to wonder what is interpreting that information. If you argue that experiences and training alter the way the mind works, and so the rest of the brain should be included in the term "memory" then you are left with the rather useless idea that the mind of an individual can be defined by their mind.

Oddly, Total Recall seems to come down on the side of choosing that memories are not all, since Quaid seems to keep all of the skills of the person he used to be, with no real explanation of how he got them. His new memories have changed his outlook on life, but the way he deals with things still shows some similarities with the old version of him.

Its interesting to compare this to the Matrix, in which the characters regularly uploaded new training into themselves seemingly without any associated memories of being trained.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Leifh said...

Hey! Just a quick note to say that I think your podcast idea is great, your first show was thought-provoking, fun and well produced, and I look forward to more!


Leif Hansen
(Bleeding purple podcast... )

4:20 PM  
Blogger Leifh said...

BTW, I have a hunch that you'll like my recent podcasts (with Ron, from awaretek) about "Aliens, Angels and Artificial intelligence", as well as the recent, "bare-ass honest dialogue about Jesus".

(Click on my profile, then the Bleeding Purple podcast, I'm transitioning from to blogspot)

4:22 PM  

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