The task of learning a language has never been simple, despite efforts to make it so. Hundreds of programs, methods, and pseudoscience applications have cropped up over the course of spoken existence aiming to simplify the acquisition of the skill, but few have succeeded. MIT Media Lab’s founder Nicholas Negroponte is confident that will change in the future, however, and how he anticipates we’ll acquire new languages is very unique.
Negroponte’s TED Talk kicks off with clips from his past talks over the last thirty years, showing off the ways in which he has correctly predicted the turns and avenues technology would take. At the end of that review lies his next prediction: learning language (and other things) by ingesting a pill.
“How many times in my life have I said, Oh in ten years this will happen, and then ten years come?” said Negroponte. After establishing his long history of correctly anticipating the directions technology would take society, he says, “My prediction is we are going to ingest information. You’re gonna swallow a pill and know English. You’re gonna swallow a pill and know Shakespeare.”
How will a pill deliver knowledge? It will happen through the bloodstream. Once the pill is in the blood, it makes its way to the brain, depositing the information in the correct places and providing users the information. Sound crazy? He anticipates this reality will exist in 30 years’ time.