The Matrix

Do you want the red pill or the blue one?

Many of us know the famous scene in The Matrix where Neo decides if he will come out of his dream. We also see the exciting moments in the movie where he has various martial arts downloaded to his brain, and discovers he “knows kung fu” in a small fraction of time. Certainly he doesn’t ever need to physically practice the art, but much of learning is comprehending and understanding a subject in our brains.

We aren’t at the point of desiring a skill and purchasing a download. Yet. However there is research into using various types of stimulation to actually help improve learning and training. Using pilots and flight training, a complex and varied skill involving both physical coordination and mental understanding, the researchers think they can affect learning. Which is amazing.

This is barely scratching the surface of learning directly in the brain, but it is interesting to see people researching the topic. After all, this is an area that ought to be of great interest to those of us working in technology, where the acquisition of new skills is important. Few of us do it well, and any improvement that could dramatically improve our capabilities to adapt and grow as technology rapidly advances, would be welcome.

Unless it involves electrical shock potential. In that case, I’ll stick with my slow read-and-practice method for learning new skills.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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