A new way to learn a language...and other things. Entry for writer's cramp
Danny was sitting on the couch with his grandmother. It was the sixth winter for him and the trees and garden outside were covered in snow. It was cosy inside, but there was nothing much that he could do. His parents were in their home offices, but that part of the house was off limits for him.
“This is so boring, waiting to go to school” he complained.
“Here.” Grandma extended the e-world that she had with her for Danny to have a look at.
“I can’t read”
“I know, you can’t until this afternoon. But you can watch a cartoon”
“I want to play. I wish dad plays with me”
“He is performing a surgery now. He will play with you later.”
“Is he replacing a tooth, like what you had got done?”
“He is replacing a heart”
“Where is it actually happening?”
“In New York”
Danny knew from his Grandma’s tooth replacement that when the machines actually printed out the tooth and fitted it in her mouth, there was someone in Dallas, US, actually supervising the procedure. It was not completely done by machines yet, but Dad said that it would soon be.
His mother had explained to him that her research was on photo synthesis in humans as a future energy source. He did not understand what that is, and hoped he would, after schooling.
Danny could not read or write yet, and that was very frustrating. Grandma and his parents spoke English and French and he had picked up bits and pieces but his vocabulary was very limited.
He opened the Geo app in the e-world in 4D mode and said “New York.” He closed his eyes as the app zoomed into New York. Skyscrapers laced with snow, very similar to the La Defence area surrounded him and he felt the chill as the Geo app interfaced with his brain and created the virtual reality.
He closed the App and turned to Gradma. “It is cold in New York.”
“Yes, but it is summer in some places now…like Australia”
Danny opened the app again and zoomed in Australia. “Ah…this is fun” He said “It is warm and pleasant. There are flowers and chirping birds. I am going to spend the rest of the day in Australia”
“That is a good idea, but you have the school to go to in the afternoon”
“Where exactly is school?”
“In La Defence itself. We could just walk there. I will come with you”
“How long will it take to learn everything?”
“Two hours for two languages. They will start with French, that is your mother tongue and then English, because your father and I speak English”
“I will learn only two languages?”
“To start with. Then when you need any other language you can learn it”
“Why don’t they teach me all languages now?”
“Our brain has some limitations…it will forget the language if we do not use it regularly”
“Will I learn anything else today?”
“Yes, they will program your brain with languages and then feed a general knowledge package. After that they will assess which subject your brain is most receptive to and what really interests you. Then they will give us an appointment for specialisation”
“When will that happen?”
“It may take a few weeks”
“But, will it complete the schooling?”
“Major part of it…then we have the incremental feeding that happens on a weekly basis to update on the latest in the field”
“You also do it, Grandma?”
“Not anymore, Danny, as we age, our brain won’t be receptive to new information. That is when we retire”
“What were you doing before?”
“I will explain later. Now it is time to get ready for school”
Danny and Grandma walked to the school with their gloved hands entwined. Danny looked up to see the sign boards of the huge buildings on either side of the street, but nothing made sense.
A fear of unknown fluttered in his chest.
“Will it hurt?”
Grandma laughed heartily “Not at all. You will be asked to lie down on a sliding table, and it will go into the programming chamber. You may close your eyes, or sleep if you feel like. You will keep hearing a buzz that is barely audible and when that stops, you will be brought back to where I will be waiting.
“Will I feel any change after that?”
“You will just know things”
“For example, I can just tell you what my job was in one word, and you will know what it is!”
“Yes, my boy, now let us go in.”
They passed a few people and many machines. After biometric verification, Danny was admitted to a chamber with huge monitors surrounding it and one large machine at the centre, that had a label with just one word. Danny was asked to lie down on the table. Some jell was applied on both sides of his forehead and two electrodes placed there. Grandma squeezed his arm reassuringly when it was time for him to move into the machine.
There was soft warm light inside, and soon the buzz started. Danny tried to focus on the buzz but soon dozed off. A sliding movement woke him and it was silence in the chamber except for the small whirring noise of the sliding table.
He could see Grandma and the others smiling as he came out. He looked up and read “Brainfeeder” on the machine. He glanced around and saw the readings in the several monitors. They were led to one of them. On the screen it showed various career options and ranking. The first said “Educational Researcher” with 100% match, and many below in descending order of percentages. Grandma had a huge smile on her face. He looked up with a grin that matched hers. By then he knew that an Educational Researcher named Caren Laurent had invented the machine and that it was his Grandma.