Memory and intelligence are not synonymous, but are obviously closely linked. Years ago, after a talk I gave, the hosts gifted me with a plaque and a few items, the most useful of which was a book called Super Power Memory by the mentalist Harry Lorayne. It was one of the most practical books I have ever read. It contains dozens of ways to effectively improve memory. I am no mentalist but the book taught me the importance of training and using my memory. The enormous computational and memory power available to us currently lets us offload a tremendous amount of information. And it is now easier to retrieve a fuzzy but known fact via a search engine than it is to dredge it from memory. Of course when we write stuff down we are offloading somewhat, But networked computers, and especially AI, are taking more and more memory-related tasks off of our shoulders as they watch and record what we do and where we go. We don't have to so much as tap a key -- not to mention put pen to paper -- to get useful information. Sometimes this is cool, and sometimes it is downright creepy.
This new AR patent seems a bit insidious to me. Memory needs to be used and nurtured to function properly. Like any physical process it responds positively to well-structured exercise. The opposite is also true. There is pretty good evidence that use of GPS mapping tools weakens our ability to remember directions. This Microsoft AR feature set seems to me another worrisome crutch that will enable us to live less mindfully and, in all probability, less intelligently. It is arguable that having an AI in an AR remember all the little stuff is like a CEO who has an executive assistant to cover those bases -- a human one. Theoretically this lets the boss remember and concentrate on the important stuff in order to make optimal and intelligent choices and to solve problems creatively. I leave it to the reader to decide how this coddling actually affects the intelligence and effectiveness of most well-attended CEO's.
The ancients developed powerful memory strategies to assist in everyday life. To see a prime example of one of these useful tools take a look at Cicero's Method of Loci or Memory Palace. Do yourself a favor. From time to time use the old thinker. Memorize a route as in the days of yore. Pick a place to put your keys and wallet. A Roman General would know the name and face of each of the men under his command, typically two legions or about 10,000. Why? Because on payday he would watch each man get his salary. No man dared stand in line twice with the General in attendance of the paymaster.
I love technology or I would not be posting here. I really have no fear that AI will take over the world. But I do see a pretty real threat that as AI and its cousins AR and VR improve (and we know they will) they could wind up doing some subtle and very ungood things to our minds as an unintended consequence. The same kind of thing that comfy office chair does to our core. Atrophy. That is, unless we choose to do a bit of tiresome exercise from time to time.
Full disclosure. I do sometimes forget where my wallet and my phone is -- but only sometimes.