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Certain metals have their own memory. And perhaps their own consciousness?

Recently (end of August), scientists from the Federal Polytechnic School (Switzerland) announced the discovery of non-living, brainless materials that can remember previous external stimuli. That is, they have memory. The question then arises if they also have their own consciousness and notion of time.

For my part, perhaps because I consider myself alive and with a brain (whose capacity is the subject of constant debate), I remember reading years ago about someone who claimed that water had memory. I don't know who said it or when or why, but I do know that at the time I laughed a lot at that statement and promptly dismissed it as meaningless.

But now, faced with the discovery made by Swiss scientists, I wonder if my laugh was not only hasty, but even irreverent and even disrespectful. Obviously, I am not suggesting that water has a memory, but rather that there are clear indications that certain compounds (such as vanadium dioxide, or VO2) "behave as if they remembered recent activities."

According to the researchers, these compounds with "own memory" would have "intriguing implications" for the development of new electronic devices, especially those that process or store data. Even more specifically, this could be the beginning of neuromorphic computing, which means that computers will be artificial brains.

The report published by Swiss scientists maintains that VO2 “stores information” and that it does so “in a similar way to that of neurons in the brain”, but with greater speed (in a matter of fractions of nanoseconds) and with less use of energy. 

The researchers made it clear that they are absolutely certain that other materials with similar properties exist. The question then arises: do these materials have some kind of self-awareness and awareness of time? After all, you cannot remember if you are not aware that time has passed and that you are still yourself.

If so, is this discovery the first scientific indication of panpsychism, that is, the belief that everything in the universe has consciousness, albeit on different levels? And if everything in the universe has consciousness, where is our consciousness located in that universal scale?

Furthermore, how many levels of consciousness exist above ours, as separate and superior to ours as our consciousness is to vanadium dioxide?

And if certain compounds can store information and remember it to access that information the next time they need it, what do they remember? And how can we access that information stored in metals and crystals?

All these questions and many others like them have a science fiction tone and a mysticism bias. But they are not, at least not since August 23rd, 2022, when Swiss scientists announced their discovery.

And one more question. If it is true that this discovery marks the beginning of neuromorphic computing (essentially artificial brains), will this also be the beginning of the technology that is anticipated to give us digital immortality? The first time I heard about that possibility, I did laugh.  This time, however, I am not laughing. 

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