Will FMRI “Training Booth” One Day Replace Schools?

In recent years the idea of receiving information through a signal transmitted directly to the brain has increased significantly.  Ever since science first tiptoed toward the hidden potential of technology as a teaching mechanism, people have often wondered if one day the average person will be able to simply go to a medical facility instead of a training academy and come out a skilled athlete.  And that’s precisely the technology scientists at Boston University are exploring.

The training, which consists of an MRI burst simulates the mental state of a prerecorded state of (for example) an athlete running a marathon.  And as the program continues, new neural pathways are built which allow the participant to actually think in a similar way to the athlete.  The system used a training program which ensured that the participants would train themselves as they were experimented on, attempting to visualize various objects and even shown the best way of honing their visualization skills. 

But while the beginnings of this particular study may seem humble, the concept of neural programming has been around for quite some time.  And those who are waiting for the next generation of direct-to-brain programming techniques may soon start seeing success in this field.

But first, it seems scientists may have some way to go before the FMRI impulses can provide specific impulses and thoughts into the brains of others.  Of course the barrier between computers and the brain have also been seen as one of the clearest frontiers on mankind’s journey toward immortality.  If all of the information of the human brain could be transferred into a computer, it would be something akin to immortality, with the person existing in software space or a sort of dream within a dream. 

And who knows – maybe in thirty or forty years this barrier will prove to be one of the next steps in human evolution.  Would we still be human?  Depending on the philosopher you asked you would get many differing opinions.  But one thing does seem certain.  Whatever we may lose in order to ensure considerable longevity, one thing is certain – the last thing we would want to lose would be our humanity.

But in the mean time, this research does suggest that in the future we may be seeing technologies beyond the wildest imaginations of the first brainwave explorers.  And university courses might one day include a section that is programmed into our brains by incredible and highly adept staff.  But then there are other possibilities as well.  One of the concerns about technology like this is the possibility that some less than benevolent force may come to control it and use the technology to breach into our own minds.

Happily, it seems DARPA is staying away from the prospect – at least for now.  But perhaps even soldiers may be included in the process at some juncture in the future.  And won’t that be incredible to see?