Of Brains and Bandwidth
I don’t have a great source at hand, but as I recall, the human brain processes at 400 billion bits per second (400Gbps).
Wikipedia could also use your help in squaring some facts with solid citations. According to the Strong AI article:<blockquote>A neuron is estimated to spike 200 times per second (this giving an upper limit on the number of operations). Signals between them are transmitted at a maximum speed of 150 meters per second. A modern 2GHz processor operates at 2 billion cycles per second or 10,000,000 times faster than a human neuron and signals in electronic computers travel at roughly the speed of light (300 000 kilometres per second).</blockquote>If all this is roughly accurate, it means that our computing infrastructure has been running at or beyond “brain speed” for more than a decade, already – both CPU’s and networks.
The Bandwidth Tidal Wave: series of articles by George Gilder provides some interesting technological and cultural background that helps prepare readers to better understand and place in proper perspective the events relative to the National Data Super Highway, which are unfolding almost daily in the national press. I contacted the author and Forbes and as the preface below indicates obtained permission to post on the Internet. Please note that the following preface must be included when cross posting or uploading this article: The following article, THE BANDWIDTH TIDAL WAVE, was first published in Forbes ASAP, December 5, 1994. It is a portion of George Gilder’s book, Telecosm, which will be published in 1996 by Simon & Schuster, as a sequel to Microcosm, published in 1989 and Life After Television published by Norton in 1992. Subsequent chapters of Telecosm will be Serialized in Forbes ASAP. “Moussouris and Matthews promise to increase peak clock speeds by a factor of five in the next two years and chip performance by factors of several hundred, launching communications chips in 1995 that function at 1.2 gigahertz and perform as many as 400 gigabits per second.
|Bandwidth Revisited, By Nicholas Negroponte (Wired, Issue 6.06||Jun 1998). “The 16 million-plus miles of optical fiber found in the US alone will soon have the capacity to carry 400 billion bits per second, thanks to recent technology from Lucent (AT&T’s former hardware house). The telex, by comparison, operated at 75 bits per second.”|
Sometimes, a helpful way to get re-oriented in the present is to take a glance at the past, compare what we see now to previous versions of the future, and reshuffle the deck for the next hand of quantum co-creation. :)