bits and brains
kpaulc at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 3 12:15:48 EST 2000
Bill Skaggs wrote:
> joshcahoon at cs.com (JoshCahoon) writes:
> > How do people go about estimating the informational capacity of the brain in
> > terms of bits? And how do they apply bits to the capacity of consciousness? I'm
> > reading The User Illusion by Tor Norretranders, and he keeps contending that
> > consciousness processes about 16 bits per second, while the entire brain
> > processes about 11-16 million bits per second. Do ya'll think there is any
> > basis for these estimates?
> Are you sure you're stating these numbers correctly? 16 bits per
> second seems much too low -- that's less than 3 ascii characters per
> As for the brain, the number also seems too low. There are around 10
> billion nerve cells in the human neocortex, and I think most people
> would say that each one processes at least a few bits per second
> (though it isn't clear how much of this processing is actually
> *used*). This would give on the order of 100 billion bits per
more billions of neurons in the cerebellum. more billions in subcortical
nuclei. more billions of glia.
and, with respect to =each= cell's functioning, g'zillions of ions, each
of which is, in a physically-real way, an 'infinity' unto itself.
it's 'depressing' to experience folks shoe-horning such Awesome-Wonder
stuff into this or that contemporaneous 'technological' vogue.
cheers, Bill, ken collins
> If the numbers you give were in bits per *millisecond* rather than
> bits per second, they would be more reasonable.
> -- Bill
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