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takidavaki306's avatar

Do you think that the computer or your brain holds more memory?

Asked by takidavaki306 (82points) May 3rd, 2010

I think that the computer holds more information than the brain, but our brain processes it faster.

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19 Answers

jerv's avatar

I believe that you have it backwards.

The human brain is capable of tremendous feats of storage, but computers are better at indexing it, pulling it up quickly, and performing operations on them faster than humans can.

Think of it this way; how much hard drive space would 36 years of HD video take up? Now add in olfactory and tactile data as well. Sure, we won’t remember 100% of every second of our lives, but we will build up one hell of a database, and we will be able to cross-link and collate that information in ways that computers can’t, though we won’t be able to do so as quickly.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

The human brain has near unlimited storage capacity.

TexasDude's avatar

The human brain is infinitely more powerful and has nearly infinite more storage space than even the most powerful super computers.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

…neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage….

WolfFang's avatar

I agree with @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard it’s just we as humans have yet to unlock the full potential yet. Whether it be by scientific advancements or some other means, we will probably eventually reach that goal

iphigeneia's avatar

The capacity of long-term memory is unlimited, but a computer’s memory is not. That said, the information stored in a well-maintained computer will probably be more accurate than the information stored in a human brain, due to deterioration and suggestibility and other factors that affect retrieval.

roundsquare's avatar

This isn’t an opinion question. It can be answered. I remember seeing an answer in an AI textbook a few years ago… sadly the book is a few thousand miles away.

As for processing, the human brain is like a compute optimized for a few tasks, but not all. So at these few tasks, its faster, but otherwise, much slower. I mean, how fast can most people add two 200 digit numbers?

roundsquare's avatar

> The capacity of long-term memory is unlimited

@iphigeneia Certainly not? Eventually you’d run into quantum mechanical difficulties if you tried to stuff more and more memories (I think…).

ucme's avatar

As has already been accurately stated the brain wins hands down.Convenientley less glitchy, which helps.

iphigeneia's avatar

@roundsquare It’s explained more here under the LTM heading. So, ‘virtually unlimited’.

anartist's avatar

Your brain is more or less finite. A computer’s storage capacity can always be increased.

jerv's avatar

@anartist Actually, no. There are addressing limits, limits to the number of devices, etcetera. Compared to the human brain, a computer’s hard drive is rather finite.

roundsquare's avatar

@iphigeneia It also seems to say that some memories may degrade, etc…This might be a way of dealing with the limits of memory.

That aside, I was taking you maybe a bit too literally. But my argument was that memory can only be stored through different configurations in the brain. Because of the finite spaced inside one’s skull, eventually you’d need so many configurations that some of them would be indistinguishable due to quantum mechanical effects (and I admit freely to only know a very little bit of quantum mechanics so I could be crazy wrong).

jerv's avatar

@roundsquare Look at how many neurons there are, do the math, and you will see that while there is a finite number of configurations, that finite number is rather large. Considering the average human’s limited scope of vision, it is practically infinite.

Figure, there are an estimated 100 billion brain cells. Once you start with the multiplication, you will wind up wih a very large number.

roundsquare's avatar

@jerv Yeah, thats what I meant by taking the comment too literally. When someone says unlimited, I don’t think “very very very very very large.”

anartist's avatar

@jerv What about the networking of many machines—the direction away from Cray supercomputing to even larger capacity? I guess this would be more like the borg [resistance is futile] than an individual????

roundsquare's avatar

@anartist In theory you are right. The memory of a potential computer is limited only by the amount of matter in the universe. However, you will eventually run into latency problems weather you use a single big computer or a number of smaller computers.

Weather or not you consider a big network a single or an individual is sort of a matter of interpretation. If its just one program using the memory of a network… its sort of like one person.

jerv's avatar

We are already going towards parallel computing anyways, rendering it somewhat moot.

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