Your Brain Deals With 34GB Of Data Every Day. Time To Reboot?
Glasgow Art School graduate James Houston's Big Ideas (Don't Get Any) on CentralStation.
Every day our brains deal with 34 gigabytes of information. But, contrary to what technosceptics will lament as we enter the decade of who-knows-what, scientists in California and England don't believe that this will have any negative affect on our brains. Indeed, it might be changing them to cope better with handling increasing amounts of spoken and written clues. In the Sunday Times:
"The speed of modern life is 2.3 words per second, or about 100,000 words a day. That is the verbiage bombarding the average person in the 12 hours they are typically awake and “consuming” information, according to a new study.
"...We are faced with the equivalent of 34 gigabytes of information each day — enough to overload the typical laptop inside a week.
"The total amount of words “consumed” in the United States has more than doubled from 4,500 trillion in 1980 to 10,845 trillion in 2008. Those estimates do not include people simply talking to one another. Total information consumption from televisions, computers and other media was estimated at 3.6 zettabytes (3.6m million gigabytes) in 2008.
"...Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience at the universities of Oxford and Warwick, said: “One of the things we have learnt over the past 20 years is that the brain does have a capacity to grow and increase in size depending on how it is used. Perhaps the personal experience of having to deal with all of this information will cause new nerve cells to be born and create new nerve connections in the brain.”
"It may be infuriating but it is no threat to the brain itself, say experts.
"In some ways, he adds, what has changed is the nature of information more than quantity. Where we now stare at a computer screen, once we studied faces, which may involve absorbing just as much data."
Just bear that in mind when your inbox is labouring under 300 emails, 1400 feeds and relentless Twitter friend requests.