You would think that after building a super-collider that could open a black hole, science (as a whole) might rest a while. After all, they deserve it. But science never takes a holiday–Not when there are strange technologies that could be put to sinister use to discover and explore.
A team of scientists from the United States and China announced last week that, for the first time, they had found a means of selectively and safely erasing memories in mice, using the signaling molecule ?CaMKII. It's a big step forward, and one that will be of considerable interest to the military, which has devoted efforts to memory manipulation as a means of treating post-traumatic stress disorder. But some military research has moved in another direction entirely.
I think we all know in which direction (s) the military amnesia beam research is heading: brainwashing, date rape (Why is the military trying to build a better roofie?), and, as Wired points out, Men In Black.
To be fair, though, it could also be heading towards Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-style selective memory wiping–but still. Through whichever fictional lens you look at it, amnesia beam technology doesn't seem like a good thing (unless you're the one with the memory erasing magic wand): You'll either end up sitting on the floor of a destroyed subway car with no idea how you got there, or you'll end up running through your own brain trying to hide memories of your girlfriend in your childhood to prevent them from being obliterated.
There are so many other less dangerous, and more fun fictional technologies that science should make real before amnesia beams. In fact, here are 4 Fictional Technologies Science Should Make Real instead of selective memory destruction:
Obviously. How can it be that science hasn't made mass-manufacture of a floating skateboard possible yet? If you watched Back To The Future Part II in 1989, immediately lapsed into a coma, and then woke up right now in 2008, the first question you would ask once you recovered your motor skills would be, "Where are the hoverboards?" Then your family would tell you there are no hoverboards, but science can safely erase select memories in mice, and you'd start crying because obviously science has let you down.
We only have 6 more years to become Zemeckis' vision of the future, scientists. Get to work.
2. Three-course-dinner Gum.
True, it turned Violet into a giant blueberry. But if science can create an amnesia beam, they should be able to make a decent three course meal in gum form that doesn't result in blueberrification.
3. Jurassic Park.
Science has cloned animals, and grown ears on the backs of mice. Why not create a dinosaur or two? The instructions are right there in the educational filmstrip in the first Jurassic Park. As for the inherent danger in creating what are essentially monsters, the movie provides important lessons: 1. Only create herbivores, and 2. Don't put Richard Attenborough or Wayne Knight in charge.
4. Urkel's "Boss Sauce" or "Cool Juice"
Is there anything better than a magic potion that can transform a walking nerd stereotype into Boyz II Men hosting a game show called Super Suave Time? Probably. But "Boss Sauce" is infinitely less sinister than an amnesia beam.