Google’s “Loretta” Super Bowl ad has caused quite the stir. “Unruly,” a video ad tech company, called it “the most effective ad of the year,” championing how the ad tugged on our heartstrings while showing how technology can improve our lives. But, could this all be too good to be true? Could giving technology the power to hold onto our dearest memories be riskier than we initially realized?

During this year’s Super Bowl, Google aired an ad showcasing how the Google Assistant can be used to help people remember things. The ad featured the voice of an elderly man who asked Google to remember facts and memories about his wife Loretta. “Remember that she liked scallops” can be heard, as lovely instrumental music plays in the background.

The ad shows just how far we have come with technology and how it can help with diseases of the mind (such as dementia). However, could this Google feature be more problematic than we realize? It is possible that these random “facts” we ask Google to remember may lead to more of a fragmented version of events.

For example, if we ask Google to remember that Loretta liked scallops, this may mean nothing in the long run. It is an isolated fact with no context, no story. What would really hold personal meaning is the story of the first time a man and his wife, Loretta, shared a scallop dinner during their anniversary trip to Alaska. Without more background, Google can debase our memories into simple strings of facts, like limbs amputated from a body.

Moreover, how and when will these “facts” be recalled? There could be a lot of damage done if these personal facts are not stored properly or if they are spewed at an inopportune time. This Google feature underscores both the danger and utility of technology; we must strive to find balance in this technologically evolving world.

Therapy (namely, cognitive behavioral therapy) has been shown to help people better cope with and make adjustments to the impact of memory decline. Our clinicians, well-versed in multiple therapy modalities, can guide you through memory impairment and develop a comprehensive plan to help preserve your stories.

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