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Matrix-style 'Instant Learning' Within 30 Years

By Dylan Love / Source: Business Insider

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab, appeared on stage in Vancouver at TED's 30th anniversary event and made a number of predictions about what technology will do over the next 30 years. Here's his most startling one:

In 30 years, Negroponte said, we're going to be able to literally ingest information. Once information is in your bloodstream, some kind of mechanism could deposit the information in the brain. You could take a pill and learn English or the works of Shakespeare. He said little else on the subject, but Negroponte assured the audience that the idea is not as ridiculous as it seems.

Negroponte is basically hypothesizing a pill you can swallow to instantly learn French or computer programming or anything else, something akin to the moment in "The Matrix" when Neo "learns kung fu" by interfacing his brain with a computer.

Negroponte's prediction has more basis in reality than you likely expect — scientists can already watch memory-forming molecules come together in the brain as a physical representation of new knowledge. Negroponte is merely talking about doing it without the human being consciously involved. Many smart people have made reasonable links between quantum physics and theories of consciousness that suggest that weird quantum principles like entanglement can help explain how we learn and remember things.

Negroponte's hypothetical "knowledge pills" would only need to be an expression of applied quantum physics.

Soon We'll Connect the Cloud Directly to Our Brains

Source: FactCoExist.com

In his TED talk, Google's Ray Kurzweil announces that 20 years from now, "thinking will grow exponentially" as human brains interface with computers.

Have you ever approached someone important, but only had three seconds to think of something clever to say? Today, companies tout the ability to access the cloud from a mobile device. But sometime in the next 20 years, we may be able to access the cloud directly from our brains and find just the perfect thing to say.

Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist who now works at Google, explained at this week's TED conference how computers are becoming more and more receptive to human language. He gave the example of how IBM's Watson computer famously beat the two best Jeopardy players at solving this particular clue: A long, tiresome speech delivered by a frothy pie topping. (The answer: "What is a meringue harangue?"). By doing so, Watson proved that it understood our plays on words.

In 10 years, search engines will be based on reading for understanding the billions of pages on the web and in books.

Developments like these, Kurzweil believes, indicate that in five to 10 years search engines "will be based on reading for understanding the billions of pages on the web and in books." This means that search engines will recognize and remember previous searches and notify you when new information becomes available on the web, summarizing the answers it has found for you (i.e. a fancier Google alert?).

In the 2030s, Kurzweil believes that nanobots will be able to enter our bodies through capillaries. In his vision, this technology could allow people to connect the human brain's neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud.

The last time our brains expanded in any similar way was as the human brain evolved 2 million years ago--a development that allowed our species to invent language, science, and technology. This next expansion, a non-biological way of thinking, could grow our brains without limit. According to Kurzweil, "thinking will grow exponentially."

Related Article: How to Unleash Your Inner Genius

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