Future self: thoughts courtesy @microphilosophy @xkcd @salonlondon

I was at a Salon event last night, where Julian Baggini was speaking about the the Future You.

He mentioned a couple of interesting things: one, that memory is affected by context, so if you’re trying hard to remember a family-related detail, like the name of a distant uncle, then you’ll be more likely to remember it when you’re in a family setting rather than when you’re at work.

He also mentioned the advances in technology and how the future version of us will be impacted by the advances in technology – a theme I recalled from Transcend by Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Terry Grossman, which I read a few months ago. They essentially say things along the lines of 20 or 30 years from now technology will have advanced enough to keep us alive longer, so our responsibility (if we so choose) is to stay healthy long enough to get there.

Baggini also mentioned how we are not the same over time. The 16-year-old version of us is a completely different person from the 40-year-old version for example – he said he wouldn’t even be able to relate to his younger self. That’s because we have different memories, experiences, and as we grow older those memories change as well – our versions of those memories change and consequently change us. As he said ‘No one is a 100% the same forever. At any point a past you is fading and a future you comes into being.’ I thought that was rather interesting – and is what links to the XKCD graphic below, which I came upon today rather coincidentally.

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