There comes a time in every person's life when, lazy or not, they want or need to learn a new skill. But goddamn, learning stuff is hard -- hours upon hours of studying and practice, sometimes requiring you to actually leave the house. Well, learning may be about to get a whole hell of a lot simpler, because scientists are ripping a page directly out of The Matrix and waving their science wands at it to turn it into a reality.
"When I said 'show me,' I meant for you to demonstrate your kung fu -- not show me the scans, smartass."
Science to the Rescue
We couldn't put it much better than the National Science Foundation press release:
"New research published today in the journal Science suggests it may be possible to use brain technology to learn to play a piano, reduce mental stress, or hit a curveball with little or no conscious effort."
"He's not playing with it ... he's building it."
In case all you saw there was "Blah blah little or no conscious effort FUCK YES," allow us to elaborate: Research conducted at Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, demonstrated that it's possible to use decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brain activity patterns of, say, a professional athlete and then, by using visual stimuli to recreate those same patterns in a target subject's brain, improve that subject's level of performance in that particular skill. And perhaps most interestingly, "the approach worked even when test subjects were not aware of what they were learning." That's right: Science is figuring out how to beam knowledge directly from one person's brain to another.
The research is in its early stages, but for anyone with even a passing interest in sci-fi, this conjures up a possible future in which you'll be able to download a concert pianist brain app on your smartphone and then, after a few short hours of staring at patterns on your screen, your new nickname's Beethoven ... along with everyone else who got the urge to become a concert pianist that day, but still.
And on that day, every magician in the world suddenly lost his source of income.
Of course, it's clear that such a technology could never really take off, because everyone knows that the true reward of perfecting a skill lies in all the heavy lifting and sweat that you pour into achieving your goals. Ahahaha! Shit! Sorry, we're just messing with you.
Jeff Sloan would like to follow you on his Twitter machine and will also thoroughly consider being your friend on Facebook.
Hamish MacDonald will totally get around to making a personal website ... some other time.
For things you'll always be screwed on, check out 5 Things Technology Will Never Fix (And Why). Or learn about 6 Sci-Fi Technologies You'll Soon Have on Your Phone.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 5 Reasons Daredevil Has the Worst Villains Ever Invented.