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If you could take a "brain download" of an entire year of any subject... would you?

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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:26 PM
Original message
If you could take a "brain download" of an entire year of any subject... would you?
Here's what I dreamt up one day... don't ask me what I was doing.

Scientists are getting pretty close to mapping all the memory centers of the brain. There is a medication that they can give you that will help you forget any traumatic event in your life, used primarily on soldiers with PTSD. The study of the brain is progressing so rapidly.

My thought was, what if they can take a snapshot of a top student's brain, separate out the class material from the parties and socialization, then either by computer chip or direct brain reconfiguration, store that info into YOUR brain.

You could finish a 4 year degree in a day, perhaps.

The question... if you could do this, would you?
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a2liberal Donating Member (381 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why not?
Serious question. What are the downsides I'm missing?
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. The number of things that could pop into your head?
Like, you used to hate broccoli but now you love it???
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
25. There might be a problem with integrating that knowledge.
If it is downloaded into the brain as "This is what it is" there it is not knowledge, but dogma. There would be no discussion about ramifications, no exploring of other possibilities, because of what is KNOWN. You would no more be inclined to dispute the age of the universe than you would dispute if water is wet.

A very serious downside.

Knowledge is the integration of information. A computer has information. A person who uses the computer can gain knowledge.
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a2liberal Donating Member (381 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #25
42. I suppose I read the question differently
I got the impression that you would pick it up with all the same nuances the original learner did.
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closeupready Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm sure plenty of people would. Maybe we all would - we'd have to
in order to compete.

Would it be an ideal worth aiming for? Well, probably not, since many kids in college are still just that - kids, and have a lot of growing up to do. That's part of what the college experience is for - time to grow into a responsible adult, and learn how to survive on one's own.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
38. Some corporation (Phoenix, etc.) would start marketing
cds for your computer rather than for profit universities. Maybe Cliff's Note

College kid's today don't know anything about studying and gaining knowledge by hard work and sheer willpower,

why in my day, we would go to the stacks in the library and sit at one desks at the end of a row of books and study and read and study until our eyes popped out and there was blood running from our ears, and then we would useevery drop of it to scrawl out essays until we ran out of paper, and then we would just beat ourselves on the head with the books until we knew everything that was on that book shelf, and the we would move to the next row of books and start over,
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. I will take Language arts for 10 years please. Spanish French Italian German and Mandarin
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ChazII Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. Like you, I would go for languages and
instead of Italian, I would take ASL. Spanish and Mandarin are a neccesity, imho.
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. How much would each language cost? What would the limits be? Inquiring minds want to know
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
30. Same here. Oh what a joy it would be to finally have a way to learn
The complexities of a language isntantly and easily.

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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
57. yes, anything time and practice intensive
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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
4. Interesting idea and I would do it. Of course it does raise some questions.
Having the information in your brain and the ability to use that information effectively are not necessarily the same thing.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. Would there be a certain amount of time your brain would need to "process" all of that raw data
That is a question I can't answer. I assumed that they would take the knowledge from that top student directly from his brain. He or she has already processed it, already made all the innumerable connections to pre-existing info and memories. How would your brain react to just the raw data from the topic???

That is a good question...
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. Sure.
Many futurists see this as an eventuality, and not a possibility. Researchers are slowly working out the details of the human brain structure, and sooner or later we will understand the exact process involved in creating memories and knowledge in the brain. Once that happens, the process to actually create and destroy memories and knowledge becomes mechanical...it's simply a matter of building a machine capable of making the needed alterations. Again, it's an eventuality, and not a possibility. Sooner or later, this will be the norm.

Many years ago, I read an interesting short story along these lines. Children were allowed to run around and enjoy their childhoods until their 15th birthdays. No school, no expectations, no nothing. On their 15th birthdays, they sat in a machine that implanted all of the knowledge they would ever need. They sat down illiterate, and stood back up with not only a PhD level education in whatever subject they wanted, but also the memories and skills needed to transform that education into viable work experience. The implications weren't entirely positive (what happens to society when knowledge becomes so common that it loses all value?)
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
22. When knowledge is so common that everyone is a PHD???
I think the human race would advance so fast it would make your head spin. Some people would waste their time watching Sports or playing video games just like today. But what if 10% or 20% of those PHD's started to tackle our toughest problems? What would we accomplish in just a single generation?

Today we have under 1% of the population with PHD's (http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/education/cps2004/tab01-01.pdf). What would happen in the sciences, engineering, technology, etc., if we had 10 to 20 times as many, or more?
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. Language/Literature
I feel like I have enough tech skills already, and can learn new skills as I go along.

But great communicators in my field have an edge when it comes to talking to nontechnical people, they often even pretend to be experts in technology they know nothing about, and nontechies believe them! I wish I could do that.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. I'll bet there's a massive headache to go with it though
Sure I'd do it if such a thing were possible, but I cannot imagine it. I got a 4 year degree and cannot recall most of what I learned then, so I imagine if I crammed it all down in one day, I'd be even less likely to remember anything. That is always the problem with cramming, you cram the material into short-term memory. Part of how the brain functions is by establishing pathways, just like roads. The more they are used, the stronger the connections become. If you establish a billion pathways in one day but then never use them again, they will vanish.

It's fun to think about, but in reality, there is no easy way.
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suston96 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
8. Would I? No.
The happiest days of my life were my 4 college years which I was lucky to have done during my middle years - 45 to 48.

I wouldn't trade them for any instantaneous and clearly perilous venture into my brain chemistry.

If you could grow a giant redwood overnight, would you? An elephant? Anything else in nature?

The beauty of life is its birth, and then the growing and maturation process.

Let it all happen as intended by the very nature of life - and learning - using life's most important and cherished element - time.

By the way, I recently celebrated my 80th birthday. I know about time - its joys and pleasures, and some of its pain.

(I recommended the OP because it is thoughtful and appreciative).
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #8
23. Awww. Come on. You mess with your briain chemistry every time you drink a Starbucks.
It's not that bad... Try it - you'll like it!

I just hope that we get to enjoy the times as much as you seem to have. As the Aussies say, good on ya.
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suston96 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #23
36. Thanks. I hope you will too. What's Starbucks ? nt
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. Coffee
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
9. This thought exercise eliminates all the pretense of education being about independent thought.
Edited on Mon Oct-24-11 01:54 PM by lumberjack_jeff
It may arguably be knowledge (albeit someone else's) but it's not education.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #9
24. Now there's an interesting argument
Can you expand upon your point a bit? How would it be any different if you had all the knowledge of math, literature, science, engineering instantly available to you instead of pounding it into your brain bit by bit? Please explain.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #24
34. Pounding information into one's brain bit by bit is better.
When I learn something piecemeal, the new bit is run against the filter of what I already know. If it's inconsistent or illogical, I'll test the new information.

To the extent that college has value, it is this. I hear or see something interesting and I test its validity using whatever modest intellectual tools that I have at my disposal.

College already is a brain dump. An expensive, time consuming brain dump.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #34
39. College is time consuming... so do away with the time it takes to learn
Brain dump learning will be the best way to learn and earn your degree all the way up to PHD and any specialty you wish.

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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #39
44. Buying a diploma is the best way to procure one.
Is the issue the certificate or retained knowledge?

The scenario you describe is the best way to fill hospitals with doctors who all know the same incorrect thing.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. You will have the knowledge - that is the point
And in an earlier post I answered the "doctors who all know the same incorrect thing" meme: the system would constantly be downloading from the top students every so often depending on the field of study (some fields don't progress as fast as others).

Being a doctor isn't about knowing how to cut: it's knowing exactly where to cut and exactly how much pressure to apply to the scalpel, etc. All these things are MEMORIES contained in the person from whom we would get the knowledge. Also being a doctor is mostly functioning as a vast storehouse of knowledge of symptoms and what diseases they point to, what treatments (what dose of what medicine) and what drug interactions may result or what side effects to expect. Those are all MEMORIES that will be downloaded from the top students in that field and memory dumped into me or some other person who actually wants to learn something new.

You are not forced to take this route. Nobody will hold a gun to your head. That's the beauty of a free society: we are free to be as smart or as ignorant as we choose to be.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
10. Me want, a corporate designed memory for my critical thinking needs?
Cookie cutter educations for everyone? No thanks.

Now, memories of vacations, or love affairs, or even heroic plays on an atheletic field---things that I never had...those things could be GREAT! All the missing parts of life us schmucks have great longings for...available on some clinicians DVD!


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PoliticAverse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
12. Maybe not...
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
13. LANGUAGES!!! I love languages, and speak so many of them....
BADLY.

There actually IS a PTSD drug--only problem is, it grows in the ground and the decriminalization/legalization process is slow as molasses (thanks, Big Pharma!). They've done some studies on it that were promising in the extreme; now they can't get access to legal quantities of the plant to continue on, but the VA continues to collect anecdotal evidence.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #13
32. Which drug is that?
Would love to know.

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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Cannabis. nt
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
14. I would download whatever science I needed to learn in order become a brain downloader.
Yay, wishing for more wishes!


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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #14
40. You've hit on a key requirement of the brain dump technology
We can't have the same old science taught for century after century, right? So there would need to be new volunteers (but again only the best in the field) to become brain downloaders. That way, the new knowledge is always passed along to the students instead of stale old info. This will rapidly advance all the sciences, technology, you name it, at lightning fast speeds.
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
15. One thing about progress is, apparent progress is not always progress, but dystopia. n/t
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
17. Learn another language in a day would be useful
but one of the things they're finding out is that it's a hologram, not a snapshot, and various bits and bobs are stored all over the place.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. There are a limited number of places where memories are stored, however
I think it's going to be available to us within the next 100 years. I don't know if everyone will like it at first, though.
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NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
19. Sure
Languages and PhotoShop.
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TygrBright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
21. Log tables, maybe. Or vocabulary for languages. Nothing else.
The point of learning is not to assemble knowledge, but to assimilate it through your own personal lens, think about it, comment on it, connect things in ways that make sense to you, and grow.

This procedure doesn't sound much like that.

disinterestedly,
Bright
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. What if you had a roundtable discussion between yourself and 20 other recent language downloadees
You could all discuss, debate, help each other process that knowledge. That could take days or weeks or longer.

The idea is that you would have all the knowledge of (let's say) how to speak Mandarin as another poster suggested. Why could you not then go to Beijing and have an in-depth discussion with the locals?
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lutefisk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
27. This might work with a Core Knowledge curriculum. Who needs to think?
:shrug:


:hi:
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Rabblevox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
29. In some subjects, yes. (maths and statistics, I'm lookin at YOU), in others, not over my dead body.
can you IMAGINE a downloadled Lit class? Or Philosophy? You might have retained data, but I don't think there will ever be a way to DL the subtle type of learning that goes on in a smart "give and take" environment.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #29
46. Given that, why begin a "give and take" with no knowledge of the topic
On the other hand, if all the students knew word for word each piece of literature and every text book in the school library... would they not be able to have more informed discussions about the current topic at hand. Literature or Philosophy you are right require digestion and discussion or they are meaningless -- unless you want to accept the opinions of that person you brain dumped from.

The benefit is that you begin from a position of ultimate knowledge of the material, not a blank slate that can accidentally be filled with INCORRECT info just as easily as correct.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
31. Not appealing. I enjoy the process of learning as much as
having the information when I'm done. Raw information is not much fun. Understanding that information and how it is applied is better.
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. +1000 +++ n/t
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-25-11 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #31
41. Nobody would force you. You are a free spirit on this journey called life.
Let your freaky learning-slowly-by-reading-and-listening flag fly!!!
:hippie:
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-26-11 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
43. Does the download go away when the Monk forces you to take a pink triangular pill?
Just wondering.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-30-11 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #43
47. No, but when they put that lizard-thing in your ear it sure does!
:hi:
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anonymousworldwide Donating Member (11 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-31-11 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
48. Hell No
Don't trust it.
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-11 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
49. Sure, but a more interesting question might be "What Subject?"
Edited on Sat Nov-05-11 10:23 AM by NYC_SKP
I'm not sure, myself....

ETA: Cultural anthropology, I'd love to know everything there is to know about modern and historic world cultures.
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Nelson Tondreau Donating Member (14 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 05:17 AM
Response to Original message
50. always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument
I've always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument, but I think that half of the fun is in learning how to do it yourself and figuring out how it works. I'd probably download a few months of guitar lessons to the point where I could get started and then just do the rest myself.
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Nelson Tondreau Donating Member (14 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 05:17 AM
Response to Original message
51. always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument
I've always wanted to be able to play a musical instrument, but I think that half of the fun is in learning how to do it yourself and figuring out how it works. I'd probably download a few months of guitar lessons to the point where I could get started and then just do the rest myself.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #51
53. Interesting perspecitve, thanks for pointing that out
Is it the process, the grind, the day in and day out of school that makes it useful? Or is it the subject knowledge itself?

You seem to have hit on a common ground between those two arguments. Thank you.
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
52. I'll take film editing and production, please.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #52
54. You got it, as soon as the technology is available
Honestly, I don't think it'll be possible before 2030 but just think of the possibilities!

Then the teachers wouldn't have to give you the material, they could be your resource to help you UNDERSTAND it, process it, put it into context perhaps. The teacher's job would be made easier in one area but perhaps more challenging in another way... We might need more teachers -- but don't worry, we can do brain downloads on a few thousand teachers by tomorrow!
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #54
55. It wasn't the teacher that was bad
But the material and learning curve was too steep when I first tried Final Cut Pro.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. I have the same problem with CAD software.
I'd love to be able to work with 3D CAD programs, designing all this cool stuff that floats around inside my brain. But, like you, the learning curve is far too steep for my 50-ish year old brain.

I never thought about using brain downloads for particular software applications, I had thought only of getting a 4-year degree overnight (or however much time it would take).
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