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"I don't know why I write science fiction. The voices in my head told me to!"
- Charles Stross

Electro-Education  
  The latest thing in electrically stimulated learning.  

"When you learn something... how does your brain do it?... The nerve-cells of your brain, the neurons, already contain the ideas of Earth and round," he explained. "Constant repetition of "Earth is round" establishes a connection between the two neuron-groups, by gradually lowering the resistance at the synapses of neuron-contacts. Thus, when in future you think of Earth, the thought-impulse flashes along that low-resistance path to the specific neurons containing round."

Being an electrician, I could dimly understand that.

"Long study and repetition establishes the neural paths necessary for remembering. But suppose by applying a tiny electronic impulse from outside, you could artificially establish a low-resistance path between these two neuron-groups?"

I got that, too. "Then I'd know that 'Earth is round' without having to bother learning it!"

"That's the idea!" Carter said... "we invented a scanner that can change the labyrinthine neural connections of the brain by tiny electronic impulses, just as you can rewire a generator's coils. With it, we can set up any desired neural paths in an instant by applying just the right electronic impulses at the right points in the network."

"Any ordinary new set of facts requires thousands of new neural paths in the brain... The scanner can put these new neural connections in your brain in a flash, by projecting a pre-determined pattern of electronic impulses."

From The Knowledge Machine, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1948
Additional resources -

Here's a picture of the entire set-up:

Compare to the Electromechanical Educator from The Fourth "R" by George O. Smith.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Knowledge Machine
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to The Knowledge Machine
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

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