WE CAN REMEMBER IT FOR YOU, WHOLESALE is a short story by Philip K. Dick first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in April 1966 and adapted for the screen in both 1990 and 2012. In the short story and filsm, some random bloke goes to a 'virtual travel agent' where they implant 'memories' of his trip to mars or whereever without him needing to go there himself. A sort of cheaper version of doing a private James Bond.
This post isn't about that story, or those films.
This post is about YOUR ACTUAL MEMORIES (those things you (should) hold most dear) and how you're donating them to the internet to be held for ransom by these mega-corp search engines, at some point down the commercial line.
"Memories held to ransom, Mike?" that's a bit of an extreme-paranoid interpretation of search engines, "How's that supposed to work, do you imagine, Mike?"
Well, think about this. You, as a race of social beings, no longer sing songs together, no longer remember poems together, no longer do times tables in your head. Everything is done for you; calculators tell retail workers how much change to give, if you forget something just 'google' it, if you want to know where you were last wednesday just access the cloud or a blog or another online diary service.
Your brain isn't doing anything other than basic bodily functions and texting. And that's very bad for you because something's happening to your brain. And Big Business knows all about this, they'll have funded research on it and everything. When a memory is no longer needed by the brain, that pathway of neurones is marked down, relegated and eventually destroyed by the 'clever tidy up mechanism' of too much shit in too little space. Over a long enough period of commercial attrition your brain will have virtually no valuable memories left in it. They'll all be elsewhere, stored; ready for ransom.
And this'll be in the non-too-distant future, mark my words. You'll enter, "How many days are there in the month of July?" into a search engine (because you no longer know the easy rhyme) and the result will come back...
HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT MEMORY TO YOU?
...and you'll sit there with your rotting half a brain and you'll type, "What?"
And the answer will come back like a ransom note from a crude criminal cartel, "Give us all the money in your current account numbered 16-78-32 10001324 or your memories will all be erased off servers 8763DHE/43HWHQ/a32z et al."
It's like right now, in 2013, living in your lovely apartment in your lovely city where you have your lovely job, if you want something you have to pay. Forget that water falls from the sky and fruit and vegetables (and rabbits) grow naturally in the wild for you harvest and enjoy. You'll jog down to McD's for some nutritionless turd in a bun. You'll crank open a bottle of water you bought from the shop even though you're also paying water rates for good clean faucet water. You'll be paying a landlord extortionate rent because you 'just have to be in town, darling'.
In a brain-ruined future,
YOU WILL PAY FOR THE THINGS YOU ONCE REMEMBERED.