An Ars Technica article titled World’s Total CPU Power: One Human Brain , about the results of research into the question “[h]ow much information can the world transmit, process, and store?” is chock-a-block with fascinating statistics (“Two-way communications handled 65 exabytes in 2007, dwarfed by broadcasting, which sent a whopping 2 zetabytes of data. But, while broadcasting is increasing at a linear rate, the advent of the Internet has given two-way transmissions a big boost, increasing the bytes transmitted by a factor of 29 in just 7 years”) whose import–and meaning, in some cases–I can’t assess. It ends with this:
Lest we get too enamored with our technological prowess, however, the authors make some comparisons with biology. “To put our findings in perspective, the 6.4*1018 instructions per second that human kind can carry out on its general-purpose computers in 2007 are in the same ballpark area as the maximum number of nerve impulses executed by one human brain per second,” they write. Our total storage capacity is the same as an adult human’s DNA. And there are several billion humans on the planet.
I have no ability to assess whether that’s even remotely true. But it’s an awe-inspiring thought.
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