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"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is."
- Isaac Asimov

  Psychoactive microbe improves the attention-focusing ability of those infected.  

The mindrot is a plague that was turned to the service of civilization. It "spreads through the brain in a nearly harmless way, infecting about ninety percent of the glial cells. And now we control the release of neuractives."

"Focusing ennobles. It is the key to Emergent success, and a much more subtle thing than you can imagine. It's not just that we've created a psychoactive microbe. This is one whose growth within the brain can be controlled with millimeter precision - and once in place, the ensemble can be guided in its actions with the same precision."

"Don't you see? We can improve the attention-focusing aspects of consciousness: we can take humans and turn them into analytical engines." She spelled it out in wretched detail. On the Emergent worlds, the Focusing process was spread over the last years of a specialist's schooling, intensifying the graduate-school experience to produce genius...

For many days, Reynolt and her technicians had tweaked the virus, triggering genetic expression that precisely released the chemicals of thought - all guided by Emergent medical computers that gathered feedback from conventional brain diagnostics.

From A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge.
Published by Not known in 1999
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  More Ideas and Technology from A Deepness in the Sky
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