Similar to the theme of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange movie, transhumanist science communicator and video producer Hashem Al-Ghaili wants to implant prisoners with synthetic memories of their crimes to forever transform them. The fake memories would come from the perspective of their victim(s) and would be intended to create permanent new memories crafted to prompt specific reactions like remorse, empathy, and understanding. In a concept he calls Cognify, Al-Ghaili—the same guy who wants to develop artificial womb facilities with “genetically superior” gene-edited babies—essentially wants to turn bad guys into good guys. To do this, he envisions that a rehabilitation facility would replace traditional prisons by embedding artificial memories alongside the prisoner’s own experiences using fully customized AI-generated content to convert visual information into codes delivered directly to the brain and stored in DNA and RNA. Never mind that even real memories are often unreliable; what could possibly go wrong?

Wasting no time to merge humans with technology, Al-Ghaili, no doubt a favorite of Klaus Schwab, stated that his program would fast-track the release of criminals to mere minutes rather than years or even decades. He explained the futuristic approach, successfully altering an inmate’s behavior and mindset, could be paired with a brain implant that retains the new, previously absent emotional states of remorse, regret, and so on, which are feelings that many criminals do not usually experience. Again, the rehabilitation would last several minutes but would likely feel like years for the criminal.

Before beginning the artificial memory therapy, a high-resolution brain scan would create a detailed map of the criminal’s neural pathways. The in-depth map would allow Cognify to focus on the specific brain regions related to memory, reasoning, and logical thinking: the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, amygdala, parietal lobe, and anterior cingulate cortex. In addition to implanting fake visual effects, Cognify could also elicit a physical response by inflicting upon the criminal the same pain and suffering their victim endured. A video explaining Cognify states:

“Some memories are designed to trigger consequences and trauma. Such memories could simulate the long-term consequences of violent actions, such as the grief of the victim’s family or the physical and emotional trauma endured by the victim.”

Al-Ghaili, who insists Cognify could be instilled on a grand scale, stated that the technology to make his dream a reality already exists, “but the ethical  boundaries stand in the way of making it a reality.” Noting that injustices are evident in prisons across the globe, he remarked that they “often fail at effective behavioral rehabilitation, as evidenced by high recidivism rates.” According to Al-Ghaili, prior experiments such as this have succeeded on animals, making him believe it is also possible for humans. He further expressed that a low-pulse laser to trigger different memories is another way to achieve comparable results. And since our brain stores each memory differently, various pulses can initiate different memories generated through AI for this method.

Without question, the future before us is going down a path intentionally blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Imagine the possibilities of implanting fake memories if the process falls into the wrong hands. A study in 2015 by Dr. Julia Shaw, a professor at the University College of London, used suggestive tactics to persuade participants into believing they had committed a crime, with 70 percent of the subjects developing false memories. Essentially, the study demonstrated that the probability of determining whether someone is sharing a real or false memory of a crime that has been implanted in a person’s memory is “no better than tossing a coin.” Speaking about the impact of her study, Shaw remarked:

“Everyone thinks that they couldn’t be tricked into believing they have done something they never did and that if someone were telling them about a false memory, they would be able to spot it.

But we found that actually, people tend to be quite susceptible to having false memories, and they sound just like real memories.”

Switching the memories of criminals to turn them into upstanding citizens sounds neat and lovely, but the flip side of such a scheme is equally as frightening. What about crimes committed by psychopaths—an astonishingly common mental disorder? Is it possible to swap their memories and make them “better”? The only mental disorders significantly more common than psychopathy are those related to depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

As noted by Wired, a study published by the NIH declared that psychopaths are 20 to 25 times more likely than non-psychopaths to end up in prison and engage in violent behaviors. They are also more likely to manipulate an early release using the deceptive tools that are part of their pathological toolbox. Once released, studies prove that they are much more likely to relapse and relapse more violently.

With that in mind, it appears mandatory to consider the craziness of a psychopath, their lack of empathy and emotional responses, and then determine if and how artificial memories would influence them. Who knows, fake memories might make them more insane, or give them more tools for their pathological toolbox. Of course, Al-Ghaili sees no problem with rehabilitating psychopaths, remarking that other forms of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, could be combined with synthetic memories to deliver the desired result.

The merging of humans with technology, where the lines of reality are absolutely misleading, almost certainly ensures Al-Ghaili’s transhuman visions have a high chance of coming to life. Still, as with his artificial gene-edited babies emerging from fake wombs, some of the biggest challenges of his prison project are ethical ramifications, including a distorted sense of self due to the artificial memories, along with ramifications such as misuse to modify someone’s memory and psyche to fit societal standards.

Take one look at the mind circus surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and you can bet your life that if the wrong people have the power to change memories and psyche to fit their needs, it will indeed happen. It seems a safe bet that Al-Ghaili is either “one of them” helping to push the transhuman agenda or a naive science nerd living in dreamland (which is highly unlikely). Confident in his sci-fi vision, he concluded:

“If we could overcome the ethical restrictions that limit testing such technology, we could have it ready in less than a decade from now.

Society won’t be able to stop it.”

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Tracy Beanz & Michelle Edwards

Tracy Beanz is an investigative journalist with a focus on corruption. She is known for her unbiased, in-depth coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. She hosts the Dark to Light podcast, found on all major video and podcasting platforms. She is a bi-weekly guest on the Joe Pags Radio Show, has been on Steve Bannon’s WarRoom and is a frequent guest on Emerald Robinson’s show. Tracy is Editor-in-chief at