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Science & Technology

DARPA investigating fast learning methods

May 8, 2017 | Comment icon 6 comments



Can electrical stimulation speed up the learning process ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Allan Ajifo
Researchers at DARPA want to make it possible for a soldier to be trained in a fraction of the time.
In the movie franchise 'The Matrix', one of the advantages of being jacked in to a totally immersive computer simulation is the ability to learn just about anything at all in a matter of seconds simply by having that information uploaded directly in to your brain.

While the ability to do this in real life is still likely to be many years away, scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are currently investigating ways in which the learning process can be accelerated so that people can acquire major new skills in months rather than years.

The key, the researchers believe, lies in stimulating the peripheral nerves responsible for relaying signals between the brain, the spinal cord and the rest of the body - a process that can trigger the release of neurochemicals capable of reorganizing connections inside the brain.
DARPA's Targeted Neuroplasticity Training program is currently exploring eight different ways to enhance learning by targeting these particular nerves with electrical stimulation.

If it succeeds then the technique could revolutionize learning, both in the military and elsewhere.

Imagine learning an entirely new language in a couple of months - the possibilities are endless.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by khol 5 years ago
let the integration begin..
Comment icon #2 Posted by S I N 5 years ago
I know kung fu
Comment icon #3 Posted by highdesert50 5 years ago
Seems a bit naive as there is a lot more to learning than simply acquiring knowledge. Even then there are individual differences that require we appropriately link new learning into prior learning in order to retrieve and use the knowledge. The real questions begin with how will the learning be used. For example, does this learning need to be understood in a problem solving context? Does it need to occur in the context of social interaction? The needs should drive the methods.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Nzo 5 years ago
Keep people happy while learning. I don't remember who did the research but they scanned the brain while teaching students something new and found that the group that was learning in a fun happy manner was able to learn faster, with much more learned(bandwidth I guess) and with much greater retention.  Darpa pay me 1 million dollars for pointing you to research that's been out at least 30 years. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Calibeliever 5 years ago
Give 'em a call. According to one commenter on the story they might!
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
Isn't training also you to give you "muscle memory" so the action becomes more instinct and automatic.  Just because someone knows everything about something isn't all of it.  For instance, you can teach a person to bowl or play baseball or football from an academic standpoint.  But without actually doing it and seeing if you have the ability it's a bit pointless.  If repetitive usage can be learned anyone could be an expert in any endeavor.  OK, learning how to use electronic equipment might be possible as the how to part is the most important, but anything needing physical prowess, I serious... [More]


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