back to article Bonce-antenna education downloads foreseen in 30 years

A controversial ex-admiral who now represents much of Blighty's fee-paying schools sector has predicted that schoolchildren of the not-too-distant future might download knowledge directly into their brains. The private schooling honcho seemed to predict some kind of implanted cranial antenna technology, rather than the …


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  1. Chris Miller
    Thumb Down

    My predictions for 30 years time

    1. Star Trek-style teleportation.

    2. IPv6 will be ready for large scale implementation 'real soon now'.

    At least as reliable as the good Admiral's ...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    And to think I was in a light happy mood when I got up this morning...

    While he might be a bit off on his predictions regarding uploading porn directly into the brain (that was what this was about, right?), but I'm afraid to say that he is spot on regarding the current state of the british (State) school system. It should be noted that I myself never attended this fine bastion of learning, I base my comment entirely on my gf's experience in this area.

    Now, it's a point to make that quality of state schools depend a lot on the area that they are based in. Sadly for my gf she went to one of the more interesting ones south of Glasgow. Luckly they were only able to 'insert favorite 4 letter f word here' up the first part of her education, as when she moved on to college the individuals in question had either dropped out to live in a council flat and spend a lot of their time in parks, or were simply in jail.

    The solution seems to be to send your kids to private schools, or move to an area where the state school is surprisingly lacking in students of the more trackier persuasion (Another valid point to make at this point would be that while not all trackies are scum, it seems that it's mostly true the other way around. Appologies to the decent folk out there who simply have an unfortunate taste in sportswear)

    Anon as a few of my gf's former classmates, after affecting her earlier learning years, are now doing porridge for making other people dead.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    "Few would argue with Parry regarding his condemnation of the damage done to Britain by the endless waves of Kiwi and Australian neo-barbarians we have seen in recent decades"

    Sorry. We tried the USA, but they are nowhere near as amusing.

  4. George Johnson

    Hold on!

    Wait just a minute, sod the kiddies, let 'em wait. I'm still waiting for my flying car, my food in pill form and my trip to the moon or Mars to go shopping!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Admiral Parry, who has a degree in History... talking out of his oversized hat. Every single person's brain is, at the actual-representation-of-symbolic-information level, completely differently wired. The basic components are similar in all of us, but the configuration within and between those composnents is so plastic and so dependent on individual circumstance as to be objectively random. No-one is going to be sticking an antenna in anyone at school (at least while knives are still an option).

  6. Tom Chiverton Silver badge

    Mad man

    "very short route from wireless technology to actually getting the electrical connections in your brain to absorb that knowledge"

    Err, yes, technically. Your body is a radio antenna anyway, right ?

    But actually then *programming your brain" so it can use those ? Whole 'nother matter mate...

  7. Ross Taylor

    No no no...

    Will nobody ever learn. The warnings are there. Cyber-brain implants are bad news. The last time we tried this we lost Billie Piper to a parallel universe for ever..

  8. Geoff Mackenzie

    Short route.

    Hmm. Yes.

    I'd hazard a guess the interface would be fairly simple in his case.

  9. Elmer Phud

    Knowledge or information?

    Just chucking data down to the wetware doesn't mean that the data has any meaning. Somehow it has to be processed in order to gain any useful 'knowledge' out of it. To aid that process there are other bits of wetware that interface in various ways with then aim of assisting in the transformation from data to something of use. Unless, that is, the data is really just there to be retrieved and reiterated pretty much as it went in. Any fool mini-cab driver can use sat-nav but cabbies do the knowledge and don't end up going through the wrong estate at the wrong time of night.

    There are already plenty of people who can take in info and regurgitate it at exam time ending up with a degree or two but it's the rest who need teaching or mentoring.

    Is this about grades or learning, is it about reducing costs or improving minds?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I want my god damn skillsofts and my kawasaki reflex booster damn it!

    As an aside - whatever - we need crazy people with distant sligltly crazy ideas to stimulate somekind of scientific/imaginary/just about any spirit. Bar hiding from terrorists and spying on each other.

  11. Joe K
    Dead Vulture

    News at 11

    "Silly old man has read too much Arthur C Clarke and somehow gets hold of a bored journo's ear for a bit"

    This is news why?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Miller

    Can I also add my prediction that in 30 years time house prices will be up - or down. The FTSE will certainly be up by 5000 or down by 5000 or some number in between and 'Duke Nukem Forever' will be available RSN.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Rear Admiral talks out of arse.. film at eleven.

    "It's a very short route from wireless technology to actually getting the electrical connections in your brain to absorb that knowledge,"

    Presumably he also thinks you can get more energy by sticking an electric cable up your nose?

    Don't they run even the most basic sanity-vs-ga-ga checks before giving someone an important job like this? Still, maybe it'll strengthen the argument to abolish private schools - if this is the kind of thinking they teach, we'd be better off without them.

  14. Bad Beaver

    I never knew

    that learning worked that way. So you just fuel up your brain with context-free information like the tank in your car? No need for neural connections to grow/change in order to link it all up? Awesome. Where can I sign up? I'll need instructions on how to fly a Bell 212. They'll come handy.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Miller

    I was with you up to the teleportation bit, but IPv6 being ready in 30 years? You're talking out of your donkey!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Is it really so far fetched?

    Whilst it may be true that each persons brain is different (I doubt the completely bit but whatever), the route that information takes to get there will be fairly standard - eyes and ears for audio and video respectively.

    As we can already re-attach bits of people with the various nerves able to function surely it's not such an unbelievable extrapolation to think that devices could be created (and inserted / attached) which could link directly into the brain areas responsible for receiving the info and pipe a bunch of useful knowledge (or pr0n of course as a previous poster mentioned) directly.

    Even better would be a phat memory chip which could record / index everything we see and hear (or selected bits - whatever), by sitting an interceptor of some sort between the audio / video nerve endings and the brains receptors, the trick then would be to have create a control mechanism for the brain to instruct the chip to retrieve / play back a given bit of info.

    30 years might be a bit quick given the "no risk" culture we live in these days, which unfortunately means I'll probably not get to see this but I love the idea.

    (Although, thinking about it some more - I can now also imagine the future RIPA demanding we hand over our video memories of everything we have seen - hmmmm)

  17. Dangermouse

    MY predictions for 30 years time ... that we will be back to banging the rocks together again.

  18. Peter Lenz

    @ Ross Taylor

    I'm trying to figure out exactly how that's a bad thing...

  19. Adam Collett

    Two quotes

    1. Einstien - "I do not know how the third world war will be fought, but the fourth will be with sticks and stones"

    2. Angela Bassett (Mace) Strange Days - "Memories are meant to fade, their made that way for a reason"

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who is this idiot ?

    "Within 30 years, sitting down and learning something will be a thing of the past," Parry told the TES.

    In the meantime, I suggest Parry sits down in a darkened and repeats to himself 100 times "I must not make up sub Captain Cyborg rubbish. I must not ...."

  21. Gilbert Wham

    Hang on,

    Isn't actually sitting down and learning something *already* a thing of the past?

  22. Pyros

    My prediction... to make this Perry fellow read Charlie Stross' Accelerando for a change.

    And so can all of you numpties as well! It's a good cautionary tale, IMO.

    (And I gotta stop speaking Britanese, it's too damned catchy.)

  23. kalqlate
    Paris Hilton

    Is it really so far fetched? X 2

    I agree with you completely as far as interfacing goes.

    I've been telling folks for a couple of years now that all of our evolutions in communication (gestures, grunting, talking, music, writing, opera/plays, photos, radio, movies, telephone, tv, Internet, cellphone, online social networking, and implantable nano-transceivers - which exist, btw) have been steady efforts to get beyond the barrier of our skulls with the goal of sharing our minds and experiences as efficiently and with as much fidelity as possible.

    As far as knowledge (awareness of information and its relation to other information, time, emotions, and other knowledge components), yeah, that's a tougher nut to crack. I don't think the key is implanting a "phat memory interceptor/recorder". That won't be necessary as all of the streams of public information will be wirelessly always on, accessible at TBps speeds, and pre-correlated.

    "the trick then would be to have create a control mechanism for the brain to instruct the chip to retrieve / play back a given bit of info"

    That then would be the equivalent of a Google search, but the one with 30 years of advancement behind it which would certainly include all of the benefits of the "semantic" web as well as other yet to be conceived advances.

    Beyond a nano-transceiver, the other implanted device (actually nano devices) is an "attention minder" that figures out the nuances of the mechanics of your brain's attention centers. Once in place, your very process of thinking will trigger fine-tuned queries to the public store and the information gathered there will be correlated with the information in focus and signaled as instantaneous associated memories (or knowledge) ready for further "recall". Its further coincidental functions will be as an InstaTwitter helping to rachet up the noise on Twitter by many orders of magnitude, and as a continuous "life" streamer to lifeTube with all other sensory and emotional data encoded and embedded in the stream.

    Surely this won't happen in 30 years. It'll take at least 31 for all of that.

    Paris because some brains were not meant to be toyed with.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Well, ALMOST possible

    Surely if you realllllyy stretch what hes saying and take it as masssive amounts of data being available on the world around you it could be true. Like having optic nerve (and ear nerve [technical term alert!]) implants and some sort of human-machine interface to let you, for example, call up historical information on your current location.

    Or, while watching TV (you'd have to keep TV. Who'd want to lose Futurama?) you could call up a diagram of who's banging who in the storyline and in real life- probably with graphic videos (hence the icon)- from the Hello neuro-site.

    The scary thing with all this tech in the hands of kids is that they'll learn to subvert it and you'll end up with brain-fried neuro-bullying victims (and bullies once in a while) or kids being fed the hardest of hardcore porn. Or someone modifying their brain chips details to make them definately over the age of 18 so they can buy adults-only chems.

  25. Charles Manning

    School == daycare, not education

    School is more about daycare for dual income families than it is about education.

    Remember class: hours of waiting for the dumb kids to understand. Maybe a two minute pearl once every day or two. Hardly a wise investment of time and effort.

    If you want a real education for your kids then pull them out of school and let them study what they want to.

    Fitting chips in kids brains so that they learn while being at home defeats the main purpose of school - corralling the kids while the parents go earn money to buy appliances and crap that they don't need.

    At least kids are getting *some* education and real world experience under current school systems. The chip thing would just bypass all that. Basically a huge step backward from where we are now (which is not that great).

  26. Anonymous Coward


    > Even better would be a phat memory chip which could record / index everything we see and hear (or selected bits - whatever), by sitting an interceptor of some sort between the audio / video nerve endings and the brains receptors, the trick then would be to have create a control mechanism for the brain to instruct the chip to retrieve / play back a given bit of info.

    The trouble with this idea is the assumption that the signals coming from your retina actually have any meaning that can be reproduced.

    What you need to do to understand this is to try some of the particularly potent* magic-mushrooms currently still available** in Amsterdam and you'll get and idea of what I mean.

    A few hours on those things and you work out how 'what you see' is just what your brain pieces together from the available signals. Or to put it another way, the reason the bloke on telly's head looks all pointy is because you've just spent thirty-seconds staring at the end of a spliff and the old wetware is still processing things in spliff shaped patterns.

    So, with that extreme example in mind, it strikes me that the same stream of signals can have a different end product for one person depending on circumstances - if the same signals were passed to my brain in a non-spannered state I would have experienced something totally different.

    I have to wonder if the old boy had taken some shortly before coming up with his idea!

    It will never happen because the mind is greater than the sum of the parts and only has a superficial relationship to the brain/body. Not that that's some profound mushroom induced insight - I spent a good three or four hours crying with laughter for no apparent reason with absolutely zero spiritual or philosophical insight and had a great time.

    AC because Google will track me down (or a potential future employer might and get the wrong idea).

    * These weren't the most potent either.

    ** I /can/ see why the government wants to outlaw them!

  27. Captain DaFt

    we've been using similar tech for eons.

    Info downloaded wirelessly into the brain? It's called reading, isn't it?

    Try one of the handy data modules... called a book!

    Mine's the one with the overdue library book in the pocket,.

  28. Starace
    Dead Vulture

    An alternative option

    I have to admit that my second thought on reading this (the first one was 'he's an idiot') was an actual practical implementation of a teaching tool based on a wireless related technology.

    This would take the form of a unit, into which the head of an appropriate yoof^H^H^H^Hstudent would be inserted, and subjected to a pre-determined number of minutes of 'education' during which their brain would absorb what could be described as knowledge, in that it would be a learning experience and quite likely have a lifelong impact.

    The resemblance of the educational unit to a microwave with the door removed and the interlocks bypassed would be purely a coincidence.

    I'm not sure the student would be in a position to appreciate it, but depending on the selection criteria for the educational establishment offering this pioneering learning method, it's quite possible the wider community would find it highly attractive.

    In time I would anticipate the application of this learning method being extended to a wider range of students - for example the latest series of Big Brother is likely to contain many people who would be ideal candidates for further education services utilising this technique.

    <- Allegations that the appearance of the vulture is a result of this learning technique are false. It's merely a coincidence.

  29. Fuzzy
    Black Helicopters

    This is ROTM

    First they plug you in to learn the next thing you know the amchines start using you as a power supply.

    The only other possible scenario is that everyone is somehow linked together and the whole thing becomes self aware, We try to pull the plug the self named "sky-net" fights back.

    No Way I'm stickin' to books thanks

  30. Quirkafleeg

    Re: This is ROTM

    “The only other possible scenario is that everyone is somehow linked together and the whole thing becomes self aware,”

    Resistance is futile.

  31. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Do5 your war3zin bra1n

    Yeah, right. Single-view movies, hardware-locked music, and attacks against file sharing. The trend is towards accelerated expiration. If the implanted chip does anything, it is to make us rapidly loose memories of copyrighted material for which we are not paying monthly licensing fees for.

  32. Xander

    @News @ 11

    This is news because we have Criswell aka Rear Admiral Chris Parry, as the chief executive of the Independent Schools Council. This guy is in charge of the "better" school system in england, and is so clearly bemused by these "moving pictures" that he thinks people will be able to download things to their brain...

  33. Geoff Johnson

    The brain's adaptability may be the key.

    So if you had two electrodes in the brain, one in the motor region so you could think about tapping a morse code type message (just thinking of movement lights up this region) and the electrode would read it. Then another, to feed signals into the brain this time, in the visual cortex so it looks like a flashing light in the corner of your eye. Link them to a small computer to interpret the "morse" commands and give appropriate morse style responses.

    I reckon that in a few months you'd be using the computer (maybe just for for maths or something similar to begin with) without even realising you were doing it. Data storage and retrieval would just happen without conscious thought too. Add in a wireless information transfer system and you're there, instant knowledge download.

    The technology exists today.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe no-one said it, but...

    I know kung-fu!

  35. chris

    My predictions for the next 30 years

    We'll have gone to war with the USA over Canada, been invaded atleast once probably by zombies, run out of oil and all be forced to live in the Scottish Highlands to escape the rising sea

  36. Snert Lee

    Prediction Errors

    "It's a very short route from wireless technology to actually getting the electrical connections in your brain to absorb that knowledge," yet wireless was discovered about a hundred years ago and first patented about 75 years ago. 100 years <> "short route"

    "Within 30 years, sitting down and learning something will be a thing of the past," yet for most this already seems to be quite passe'.

    Perhaps, in his position as a Lord of Education, he's saying it's not really necessary to teach anything anymore because learning is out of fashion and Google will soon be hardwired into your brain.

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