Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Information Overload and Brain Computing Power are Extremely Exaggerated - Repetitions, Noise, Junk Data and Miscalculations

For example:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/10/AR2011021004916_2.html?sid=ST2011021100514http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/10/AR2011021004916_2.html?sid=ST2011021100514

I'd question their methodology and claim for pocket calculators as having such a share, but this one is the best:

"But Hilbert offers a humbling comparison. Despite our gargantuan digital growth, the DNA in a single human body still stores far more information - and a single "human brain computes far more calculations - than all the technology on Earth.

Brain computing power in terms of computers and calculations is much less << 1 instruction/sec or a FLOPS of any CPU... Can you please multiply 643.576 * 256.94? With a CPU you can granulate power and do anything at anytime - this is impossible with brain, it has virtual specialized fake "ZILLIFLOPS", from which sometimes it can't get even one FLOP on demand. DNA information can only be interpreted as commands for building proteins, that can be read by specific mechanisms in specific moments in specific tiny-little locations, it can't be random, but is very dependent on producing particular living cells, and you can't access it as RAM or disk. (Yeah, there is "junk DNA", but it's not random accessible either.) Digital data and media are different universes...

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"Overload" is repetitions and lots of noise

A big portion of any kind of "information overload" of our time is caused by mass produced copies of all kinds of media. There are thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands?) of television programs all around the world, big portion of their transmission is the same. The same "leading world news" from LA to Tokio. The same cinema blockbusters, the same music on the radio stations and on the computers, the same operating system and software on billions of same models CPUs and all kind of digital devices. And new versions are most of the time updates of the old ones etc.

Sure there are local variations, but the information to encode them is supposed to be astronomically less, compared to a dull measure of capacity for storing repetitions. (And there are local repetitions either - national news, circulating through national media, local news - through multiple local media... Students writing projects on the same topics etc.)

Another thing is that 25 GB of a blue-ray disk at 1920x1080 of the same movie won't left much more information in the memory of viewers than a 700 MB CD with noisy and grainy 640x360 video - you'll just feel the first image "more realistic, crisp, clear..." at the moment of perception, or you could notice some wrinkles, texture details or captions which are probably of little importance for the message of the work.

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There is a lot of unique information, recorded as home/amateur photos and videos, but the big portion of it is duplicating either - 100 photos of the same event from close angles (little difference), tourists photos at the same sites - "me in Paris". And a big portion of the growth of the digital data is from cheap cameras with fake bombastic resolutions of 15 Mpix or so, producing noise and blurry images, more to justify the grow in portable memory capacity and to delude buyers than to deliver such quality - if the resolutions didn't grew, users wouldn't need anything more than 1-2 GBs memory cards.

As for "overload" - there might be 1000000 porn sites or videos of the thing you're searching for, you won't check them all. You'd usually stop the search after the first few sites, because they already satisfied your demand, namely because others are the same, regarding your query.

Indeed, web is full of repetitions - web forums and blogs on the same topic, web stores with the same reviews and same goods, media with the same news.

All people around the world have the same interests (such as food/health, sex, celebrities, movies, sport ... ) - classes of interests/topics and are supposed to have similar or the same views on the topics, where the set of possible views is limited, and the most "important" for the most users are repeated the most.

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