Remember the classic scene in The Matrix where Keanu Reeves is hooked up to this crazy looking machine/chair and he’s being fed information for hours and hours and hours? The best (and funniest) line comes when Neo says “I know Kung Fu.” Wouldn’t it be incredible if that technology existed? Hang on folks because it’s in development. According to Planet240, “Researchers claim to have developed a simulator, which can feed data directly into a person’s brain and teach them new skills in a shorter amount of time, comparing it to “life imitating art”.
I can’t help but to think of the movie Demolition Man where Sylvester Stallone is cryogenically frozen for decades and when he comes out he has the skills of a seamstress. But like The Matrix and Demolition man, the simulator just might work on the human brain. While it won’t be as quick and as simple as Neo’s quick study program, that could very well be the future of software like this.
Researchers from HRL Laboratories, based in California, say they have found a way to amplify learning, only on a much smaller scale than seen in the Hollywood film. They studied the electric signals in the brain of a trained pilot and then fed the data into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an aeroplane in a realistic flight simulator. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found that subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities and learnt the task 33 per cent better than a placebo group.
Dr Matthew Phillips says, “Our system is one of the first of its kind. It’s a brain stimulation system. It sounds kind of sci-fi, but there’s large scientific basis for the development of our system. The specific task we were looking at was piloting an aircraft, which requires a synergy of both cognitive and motor performance. When you learn something, your brain physically changes. Connections are made and strengthened in a process called neuro-plasticity. It turns out that certain functions of the brain, like speech and memory, are located in very specific regions of the brain, about the size of your pinky.”
My question in all of this is “do we get requests?” Seriously, how amazing would it be if you were to say, “I’d like to learn how to paint like Van Gogh.” Then you slap on the program and in an hour or so you are a world class painter.
Although this would be nice in theory, something tells me the implications could be very dangerous. Think about the movie Limitless that centers on a drug that allows you to use higher percentages of the brain and make you smarter than basically everyone. Imagine a world where everyone is that smart? Yikes. What would be the fun in that?
Still though, this is an amazing breakthrough.