Phone Storage vs Human Memory

by George Lovell | | 0 comments

You might have a 256GB phone... But how much can you store in that big head of yours?

Firstly, a bit of neuroscience. The brain doesn't actually store memories like a computer stores files. It reconstructs memories on demand with electricity and chemicals. We call this "remembering", but "assembling" would be a better term. Every time we assemble a memory, it is built with different neurons, which can be influenced by your current situation. Hence, our memories often change, and are unreliable forms of evidence.

Despite all the differences, some really cool research enables us to somewhat compare our brains to computers.

Your brain has about 100 billion neurons; each of which makes 1000 or more connections to other neurons; creating an estimated total of 125 trillion connections. This equates to approximately 2.5 petabytes - 2500 Terabytes - 2.5 million Gigabytes of digital memory.

Suck on that, Apple. I'm sure they're still trying to figure out a neuro-cloud subscription model. iBrain maybe?

All of this information runs on just 20 watts - which is just enough to power a dim lightbulb. How's that for energy efficiency? To store as much information as our brains do, an equivalent computer would require 1 Gigawatt (1 billion watts)! To put this into perspective, to produce this 1 Gigawatt of power would require 3.13 million solar panels, or 9090 Nissan Leaf's.

So if you do have a 256GB phone, and you're concerned about filling it up, take comfort in the fact that you have 9765 times more storage rattling around inside your skull, operating at 50 million times greater energy efficiency. 

Doesn't mean it won't corrupt from time to time. And God knows we can't delete bad memories from Recycle Bin. 

Thanks for reading!

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