“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Already with our access to information and ability to communicate with massive bodies of other people, we have seen the average human IQ jump 3 points per decade, 15 points since 1970. We are technically now living with more geniuses on the planet than ever before, taking into account population growth.
But numerous studies show that hands-on, minds-on learning by experience not only makes it easier to absorb complex material, it also makes it easier to remember. Why?
Based on the surviving evidence of written texts, humans invented writing in Mesopotamia sometime between 3400 BCE and 3300 BCE. Proof of writing in Egypt has been found that dates back to 3200 BCE, and in what is now China around 1300 BCE.
That means humans have used writing to express and learn for only around 4000 years.
While our human ancestors have been around for about 6 million years, the modern form of humans evolved about 200,000 years ago.
That means, for about 98% of modern human history, we have been learning through interaction. Physical learning. Before writing to contain information, people showed each other how to do things, and information about life was contained in stories. We used oral traditions to pass information from one generation to the next.
In short, for the majority of our evolution, our brains have been learning about the world physically, and I believe we are evolved to learn this way.
“For most of our history we’ve been learning through interaction”
Augmented reality (AR) has huge potential in the field of education. Not only does it allow us to see real objects in actual space. It allows us to jump from one simulation to the next immediately and seamlessly, much like this description of the 6th dimension:
“In the 6th dimension, you can leap across different world lines, and get to other versions of the universe without having to worry about fifth-dimensional causality. In other words, you can teleport — from your universe to any point in time on any universe”
6th Dimension Virtual Reality
Imagine seeing nuclear fusion happen right in front of you?
Or being in the room while the greatest historical moments happen?
Or walking on the surface of another planet?
Or seeing a 3D car motor on the floor in front of you?
Or having a virtual human body with an exposed beating heart on the table in front of you?
And to be able to physically walk around to examine these objects in your own environment.
We know movement in itself increases blood flow to the brain. To take this to the next level, we need to allow learners to touch and physically interact with these augmented simulations.
Enter haptic technology, “also known as kinesthetic communication or 3D touch, refers to any technology that can create an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user.”
Haptic technology can come in the form of gloves, suits, pens, helmets, and even pajamas which simulate pressure, temperature, and texture. At this point, there is haptic technology that allows the user to feel the difference between water, sand, and rock and other haptic technology which allows the user to carve a pot and feel the give of the clay beneath their fingers.
Soon, not only will you have a car engine in front of you, but you will also be able to open it and tinker with the internal parts.
You will be able to walk on Venus and feel to a lesser degree the heat, the wind, and the pressure of the planet. The texture of the rocks. The smell of the gases.
Or operate on a virtual human being, and feel the pressure of the skin or organs with each cut or suture you make.
This will help learners engage with the concepts they are learning, highlight the scale of things, and make abstract concepts more understandable. Think for example of driving. You can study the theory as much as you want, but when you get into a car and onto the road it is a whole different experience. Other learning material is like this too.
Emergent AR and haptic technology will give future generations a depth of understanding of topics that we can’t grasp yet. Leading to a smarter, more creative, and intuitive society.
With the combined ability to access information in whatever order is best for each learner, and the technology to make this information “real” to learners, I believe our species will see a boom in both creativity and average IQ over the next few decades. In effect, a neo-Renaissance.