How Fast is Your Brain?

How Fast is Your Brain?

The tagline of this website is "You are phenomenal. Live accordingly."

But am I just trying to win friends? Make you feel good? Trademark™ a nifty slogan?


To prove you're phenomenal, let's start by looking at your brain.

It's fast. Astoundingly fast. And I'll bet you're not giving it the credit it deserves.


How fast is your brain working? To answer that question, we need to look at just three variables*:

  1. How many neurons we have.
  2. How fast neurons fire.
  3. How many cells each neuron connects to.

Neurons are nerve cells that process and transmit electrochemical signals. Like a little lightning bolt transmitter/receiver/processor. The human brain has about 100 billion of them.

Each neurons fires (on average) about 200 times per second. And each neuron connects to about 1,000 other neurons. So... every time each neuron fires a signal, 1,000 other neurons get that information.

Let's multiply:

100 billion neurons
200 firings per second
1,000 connections each
20,000,000,000,000,000 bits of info transmitted per second

Think about that:

20 million billion bits of information move around your brain every second.


It takes a lot of individual bits/neurons — could be millions... could be billions — to form a picture. (The picture of the brain above is 12kb [9,399 bytes], or 75,192 individual bits of information.)

How many bits does it take to shape a whole thought? Analyze a complex situation? Probably billions.

We still haven't scratched the surface of how many neurons you've got.

Plus, consider that your brain is doing all those calculations at the same time... every moment of every day...

processing sounds

... and 99+% of the work it's doing... you never even notice.

Your brain is fast.

Astoundingly fast.

And the best part of all... is that we're each in full control of where we direct its focus.

What are you focusing your brain on?

Funny how sometimes we forget just how phenomenal we really are.

*Thanks to this article for the calculations.

Next up, Article #13:
How to Jumpstart Your Momentum ~

Phenomenal: The Self-fulfilling Prophecy
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Terry Ollier (not verified) 21 January 2010 - 8:28 am

This information is astounding. There truly seems to be
limitless possibilities to yet discover.

FeepingCreature (not verified) 20 November 2009 - 4:18 pm

A more interesting question, I think, is how much of this computational resource would we identify as being “us”, if we knew exactly what it did?

And I wonder, given the inefficiencies inherent in evolution, if we built an AI that could completely understand – and optimize – a human brain .. how much would it be able to reduce that brain?

A more depressing view of the human brain would be as an organ of massive computational power – and very much of it is going to waste because evolution possesses no _insight_. If we could ever truly understand, and improve our own brains .. I think that would be a more plausible Singularity than the technological one.