Near the end of 2010, Thomas Dixon was out for a run near his parents’ house when he was struck by a car and injured so badly that doctors weren’t sure if he would survive. He doesn’t remember the accident, but it left a permanent and pervasive mark on his life. Since that day, his memory hasn’t been the same. In particular, his episodic memory-specific, autobiographical details like where he was, who he met, what he ate and the like-has been compromised by the traumatic brain injury he sustained that late November afternoon. “I’m always aware of what I’m talking about and who I’m with in the moment,” Dixon says. “I just don’t know what happened yesterday or the day before, my declarative episodic memory is shot.” Since the accident, Dixon has relied heavily on his smartphone to augment the part of his brain that is no longer functioning properly.
How does technology change how we see ourselves?