Several people over the years have told me they don’t want to learn anything new, because if they do, they have to toss out something they already know because their brain is already full. While it is true that we form clusters of neoron synaptic connections that work in mysterious yet theoretically limited ways, I have never really worried about running out of space on my own head’s hard drive. Of course, someone had to calculate an estimate, instead of leaving well enough alone…
From Eric Allen Bell at Global One TV:
The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Or any other encyclopedia for that matter. Scientists have yet to settle on a definitive amount, but the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms is thought to be between 3 or even 1,000 terabytes. The National Archives of Britain, containing over 900 years of history, only takes up 70 terabytes, making your brain’s memory power pretty darn impressive.
Still, my own computer currently has a solid state drive for my boot up stuff, and I have a 2 Terra Byte main hard drive. This is just one of my computers on my network. So, if the brain is at the low end of the estimate, my current computer network had the same storage as my own brain. If at the high end, give computers a few years to catch up.
As I look at my computer hard drive, my novels, writing, spreadsheets and work take up a pitiful amount of the space. I have thousands of files, but work seems to absorb very little space. I do have about 600 games and hundreds of pictures and fun stuff that comprises about 95% of my used memory space. So far, I have filled up over 500 gigabytes, or about one fourth of the two terrabyte drive. This got me to comparing…
My own brain must be at least a quarter full by now, perhaps even more. There is schooling of course, an AA in Electronic Engineering, a BS in Computer Science, a Masters in Economics. But those are probably not taking much space, just like my work files. My boot up disk – basic language skills, the major senses, knowing how to breathe and move kind of work on their own hard wired for the most part.
So, I have to conclude, that like my computer, most of my brain storage is used for bad jokes, dreaming, pictures, bad TV shows I have watched and movie clips. It took a lot of storage space to memorize all the lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, not to mention Airplane! I think I will put in a pic here to stop me writing about the Knights who say Nee! or cat juggling, or unladen swallows…
4 responses to “How Much Can Your Brain Hold?”
We are no longer the Knights who say, “Nee.” We are now the Knights who say, “Ichi-ichi-ichi-peetang-zooboing!”
I think I need to run a defrag on my brain now and again. If we found a way to do that and compartmentalize like information and clean up the old fragments, maybe we would find that new bits of information are more easily written to our hard drives.
Oh what I wouldn’t give to go to the doctor and get a defrag. While this level of data is very impressive, I have to believe that it is still on the low end, even at 1kTB. I have nothing to back it up, I just think it’s probably higher. Or, maybe our “programming” is just THAT efficient. Think about the complex data that has to be stored on top of the facts… the emotions. that’s always a mess of crazy.
I’m not sure the analogy of a computer hard drive really works when it comes to how the brain stores information, and I’m not even sure that the information storage capacity of the brain (while undoubtedly huge) could be accurately characterised in terms of bytes, even if we could measure it. However, I guess it’s the best analogy we’ve got for now!
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