Oct 18, 2019
Future possibility to download skills in your brain
A study published in Science Magazine suggests that the type of instant download-type learning seen in the Matrix movies really is possible. Using decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to tweak a subject’s brain waves, scientists can match brain waves to a previously-determined target state. The method could be used to more or less insert knowledge directly into a subject’s brain through the visual cortex.
It's true that people won't be able to learn just any skill. As for forgetting, most memories are only kept around if they're used, and constant use of a memory or skill cements it in your mind for years.
Researchers claim to have developed a simulator which can feed information directly into a person’s brain and teach them new skills in a shorter amount of time.
They believe it could be the first steps in developing advanced software that will make Matrix-style instant learning a reality.
Feeding knowledge directly into your brain could soon take as much effort as falling asleep, scientists believe.
There is a system that allows compatible humans to download and fully integrate into their minds the skillsets of the most knowledgeable experts in a field. Note that not all humans are compatible with all skills, and some skill sets have prerequisites that must be in place for the graft to 'take.' The system would be based on a combination of drugs, neuron-light-induction, and cyberization. This is in the relatively near future.
We don't know how the brain works in enough detail to be even able to guess at a mechanism to do this task. Obviously, we think it may well be possible sometime in the far future.
The question is can we reverse that technology, such that we are taking information from a computer or the internet and embed it into the human mind. That is a much more difficult problem.
Studies have shown that if you probe the mind (stimulate neurons), the firing of neurons elicits behaviors and patterns. In theory, if we understood the neural map (like the genetic code) and had a stimulator that could broadly probe neurons, we would be able to "download" a skill directly into the human brain. In practice, the science is still evolving and the technology isn't even on the radar.
The speed at which the implant process occurs would be a determining factor in how much you remember. For instance, say you read a book over the course of two weeks, making notes and really trying to understand what's going on. Your friend skims the thing in two hours. Now, you and your friend may be able to give a summary of the book, but you will be able to actually hold a conversation about it. Your friend will have gaps in their knowledge, whole chunks of the book that they had to forget in order to soldier on and get to the end. Even if you both were able to read every word in the book, you took the time to commit the whole thing to memory, while most of what your friend read got overridden by whatever happened next.
A cognitive neuroscientist and his team at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, California, seem to have achieved the impossible.
According to a press release, the team “measured the brain activity patterns of six commercial and military pilots, and then transmitted these patterns into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an airplane in a realistic flight simulator.”
With this strategy, as published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal, the pilot learned 33% faster than the group that didn’t use this strategy.
Using decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to tweak a subject’s brain waves, scientists can match brain waves to a previously-determined target state. The method could be used to more or less insert knowledge directly into a subject’s brain through the visual cortex, bypassing all of the months of practice and learning curves.
The method only works on skills that involve a large degree of visual performance. The visual learning areas of our brains are responsible for keeping track of information learned over time through practice and forming it into performance-based skill. So artificially inducing a certain activation pattern in the brain that matches the pattern of someone who already has that skill can actually make us better at something almost instantly.
Neural Lace is a brain-computer interface technology that could allow human brains to compete with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Currently, Elon Musk is funding research toward the development of Neural Lace technology, this is the emerging technology that could link human brains with computers without the need for a physical connection.
This would be possible by implanting tiny electrodes into the brain. The result would be the enhancement of memory and cognitive powers by effectively merging humans and Artificial Intelligence.
Elon Musk, who runs several successful companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, has outlined his fears in several opportunities saying that the rapid advancement in Artificial Intelligence means that humans will either have to merge with Artificial Intelligence at some point in the future or become irrelevant.
The scientists think that this could be the first step in creating advanced software that will make instant learning a reality.
The thought of a future where we learn everything via brain wave manipulation is a little too creepy to ponder, but hopefully, this research can be used to help people with learning disabilities.