The amount of things that we learn from childhood is just staggering. We generally don’t give much thought to it but there are thousands of complex things we learn right from our infancy.
We learn to ‘read’ objects in our 3D world and how to interact with them, we learn to read, write, stand, walk, run, speak, communicate, think, play and so much more.
All of that is done by repeating the tasks over and over again until we gain ‘mastery’ over it. It is made possible by a process called neural plasticity where the brain creates and strengthens neural pathways to allow information to transfer between brain cells.
So, each time we learn something new, the brain is literally rewiring itself to allow for it and that takes time. But wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could just upload knowledge or skills directly to the brain?
New Skills On Demand
Thanks to the world of the internet, we are now habituated for everything on demand, whether it is content, or food or any other services like booking a cab. Everything is accessible to us on demand.
What if we could do the same with skills? What if we could learn anything whenever we wanted and wherever we wanted in a matter of minutes? Seems pretty sci-fi, right? That’s because it is. At least for now.
If this reminds you of a movie, you are probably thinking about the Matrix, in which the hero called Neo was able to learn Kung Fu in a matter of seconds when the necessary skillset was uploaded to his brain. But the matrix was itself a software so that is quite easy to do as we can program a game character to do anything in the real world too.
Doing that with real human beings in the real world, is a tough nut to crack. In mid 2016, there were articles on the internet which claimed that scientists had come up with ways to help people learn faster thanks to brain stimulation, and that is probably the closest we have ever come.
Will It Be Possible?
I think so. Science and technology have a habit of making the seemingly impossible become possible and all of history is a proof of that. So, I do think that one day it might be possible. When that will happen is anyone’s guess. Maybe after a few decades.
Military agencies like DARPA have been reported to be working on their Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program which aims to hack learning and upload skills directly to the brain.
Although I personally don’t wish for such a tech to be used for military purpose, I would be happy to see it in classrooms, or other places where we learn essential life skills like driving, swimming, defending ourselves among other things.
I am aware that such a technology could have really catastrophic repercussions in the hands of bad agents and so we need to be careful about its development. We don’t want to have millions of spy like crafty people all around us, do we?