The Future: Matrix-Like 'Automated Learning' Machines

December 13, 2011


Imagine if you could just take a nap and learn something in the process (and not just how good sleeping feels). Kind of like passing out with your head in a textbook but then NOT failing the shit out of the test the next day. Well scientists are exploring the possibility through the use of MRI machines. But not just learning boring-ass information, learning HOW TO DO THINGS. *karate chops through a stack of cinderblocks*

Here's how it works: you pick a task that requires high performance from your visual cortex, like catching a ball. Then, you go find someone who's a pro at catching a ball, stick them in an fMRI machine, and record what's going on in their brain while they visualize catching a ball. Now you've got your ball-catching program, and you're ready to learn. Next step: put yourself into the fMRI machine, and rig it to induce that pro ball-catching imagery that you recorded earlier in your brain using neurofeedback. You don't even have to be paying attention while this is going on. Your brain, though, becomes familiar with that pattern, which is what learning is: your brain becoming familiar with patterns. Play that pattern back enough, and you will get better at whatever activity the pattern is associated with.

This isn't just conjecture: the researchers involved have shown that this fMRI pattern playback can in fact "cause long-lasting improvement in tasks that require visual performance... In theory, a type of automated learning is a potential outcome.

"Pfft, I already know how to catch a ball." Yeah well that was just an EXAMPLE you idiot, besides, *bounces kickball off head* your reflexes could use some work. Chase me, I dare you! *watches you fall out of your chair* ...If you're wondering if I reprogrammed your brain with Stephen Hawking's walk, the answer's yes.

An MRI machine could teach you Kung-Fu, everything else [dvice]

Thanks to Marion, who doesn't want to learn how to do anything except pick winning lotto numbers.

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