My question is based on the following excerpt from an article I read recently:
Since the early neurological work of Karl Lashley and Wilder Penfield in the 1950s and 1960s, it has become clear that long-term memories are not stored in just one part of the brain, but are widely distributed throughout the cortex. After consolidation, long-term memories are stored throughout the brain as groups of neurons that are primed to fire together in the same pattern that created the original experience, and each component of a memory is stored in the brain area that initiated it (e.g. groups of neurons in the visual cortex store a sight, neurons in the amygdala store the associated emotion, etc). Indeed, it seems that they may even be encoded redundantly, several times, in various parts of the cortex, so that, if one engram (or memory trace) is wiped out, there are duplicates, or alternative pathways, elsewhere, through which the memory may still be retrieved.
Is it, therefore, theoretically possible to create a machine that perfectly maps out the way in which neurons fire in Patient A regarding a certain memory, and then to stimulate an identical firing of neurons in Patient B, so as to allow them to live that memory or even believe it to be theirs?
By extension, could this machine map out the neuron firing order that occurs while someone studies mathematics or physics, and then to replicate such firing in another person so as to impart that knowledge upon them? Or is there some additional element that arises when living through the experience yourself that cannot be reproduced in such a binary fashion as "firing of neutrons". If so, what does that say about the passage quoted above?