Science & Technology
DARPA investigating fast learning methods
By T.K. Randall
May 8, 2017 · 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.
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