Which Language Will You Swallow?
Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab, gave a TED Talk where he predicted that in the future, “humans will be able to learn an entire language by eating a pill.” It’s not just languages. It’s anything you want to learn.
The prediction starts around minute 18:10 of the TED Talk:
“This is a prediction because it will be 30 years; I won’t be here. But one of the things about learning how to read… we have been doing a lot of consuming of information through our eyes. That may be a very inefficient channel. So my prediction is that we are going to ingest information. You’re going to swallow a pill and know English. You’re going to swallow a pill and know Shakespeare. And the way to do it is through the bloodstream. So once it’s in your bloodstream… it gets into the brain, and when it knows that it is in the brain, it deposits it in the right places. So it’s ingested.”
The man has predicted other technological advances, including touch screens and wearable technology. Why not this?
If it is true, even though I’ll be 70 (and perhaps even more likely to take the risk seeing that I won’t have to worry about the long-term effects of said pill), I would like to ingest several programming languages and have a greater understanding of engineering and computer programming. I’d like to ingest some of the books I don’t want to take the time to read, such as Middlemarch. I wouldn’t mind a greater understanding of math concepts. And I’d like to know how to work a DSLR camera.
I will be hopefully long gone before someone abuses this development and begins using it as a way to control our minds, place ideas firmly inside our brains so they can’t be unlearned or forgotten. Before it stops being a single pill and something that is sprinkled into a food source. As much as the idea is a thing of beauty, I can also see all the ways it could be abused.
But let’s not think too hard about that reality.
What do you want to learn if you can know it simply by swallowing a pill?