Could DARPA's Brain Uploads Lead To 'Matrix' Military Training?

Monday, 09 October 2017 - 11:22AM
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Weird Science
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Monday, 09 October 2017 - 11:22AM
Could DARPA's Brain Uploads Lead To 'Matrix' Military Training?
Image Credit: Warner Bros/Village Roadshow
With all the movies and TV shows currently streaming online, who has time to learn a new language or some other cognitive skill anymore? DARPA (the U.S government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has been working on the ultimate cheat code for brains that would cut down the time needed to acquire knowledge and complete skill training. The program was not named after any of the characters from The Matrix, but it probably should have been.



According to Futurism, DARPA announced the Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program back in 2016. In theory, DARPA would develop technology that would stimulate peripheral nerves to release more neuromodulators (brain chemicals) including acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The chemicals would activate synaptic plasticity and the brain would be trained to process information for cognitive skills more quickly. The stated goal of TNT is to speed up training processes for military personnel and in turn reduce costs and improve results. "DARPA is approaching the study of synaptic plasticity from multiple angles to determine whether there are safe and responsible ways to enhance learning and accelerate training for skills relevant to national security missions," said TNT Program Manager Doug Webe, in a press release. But the technology could be used for much cooler applications, like teaching me Jiu-jitsu or how to fly a helicopter in a matter of seconds.



As a part of the program, DARPA is funding eight brain plasticity research programs at seven colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Wisconsin, the University of Florida, the University of Texas at Dallas, Wright State University, the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and Arizona State University. It will likely be a while before we see skills uploaded directly into brains, but at least somebody is finally working toward that essential future.
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