Human Brain memory capacity in Gigabytes (GB)

When it comes to measuring memory capacity of human brain, we tend to think in terms of digital memory. The most popular term to measure memory is GB (Gigabyte), which is comparatively very less when it comes to measuring memory capacity of brain. A number of researches have tried to measure this capacity and have given various estimates which differ a lot from each other. Usually researches say that our brain can store petabytes of data.

There are different estimates about size of human brain when in comes to counting neurons. Some researchers say that only 10% of or brain are neurons, rest are the cells protecting them or the connections between neurons. One neuron can make around 1000 connections (known as synapses) with other neurons, which generates a complex net of neurons and synapses. Each of these connections can also store a memory.
According to present estimates each synapse can store 4.7 bits of information. Cerebral cortex alone has 125 trillion synapses.
According to scientificamerican.com our brain can store upto 2.5 petabyte (i.e around 2621440 GB). This might seem lesser to some people but this much storage can store up to 300 years of continuous video.

Some Neuroscientists believe that this estimate might be too low or too high, because while doing this simple math we assume that each synapse can hold 1 byte of information. This assumption of 1 byte equals 1 synapse might not be correct. Apart from that all synapses are not used for storage purpose, as some are also used for processing that memory.

One more interesting fact is that, no matter how much the age is, a human never feels out of space to save newer memories. Some researchers feel that it is because our storage capacity is more than required, while some feel that it is because our brain keep erasing those memories which are not of much importance.

Our brain is not just a Hardisk

When we talk about brain and memory, most of us think as if it is a digital pen-drive or a hardisk, while it is not so. Our brain does not learn a thing completely unless that thing is paid attention to or if we don't revise it. You can't learn names of 100 people in a single day, but you may learn it in a few days/weeks if they are your co-workers in your office. A computer can do this thing in a few minutes if it is programmed to do so by a human. Here you might think that your brain is less smart than a computer, but wait a second ! Do you know how much time a computer will take to search for name of a person by matching its face in a 2.5 petabyte hardisk. Probably it might take days, but your brain can instantly tell you if he/she is someone familiar or not, even if you have met that person years ago, you will remember the name if you had met that person a few times. Our brain is a biologically evolved storage and processing device which is way smarter than we think.

Our Consciousness and Memory are outside !

There are some people who think that human consciousness is not something inside our brain. According to them our brain is just a communicating device. We know that we can communicate with other people through talking, but we can also read their expressions, their body language, or their behavior. We are not connected through wires but we communicate better than any wired medium. When it comes to computers we know that they communicate through cables, wifi, bluetooth or other radio frequencies, but we don't know how our brain communicates with our own consciousness. If this theory is true, then our brain is just a processing and communicating device which is always connected to some outer consciousness (like cloud computing), from where you can access unlimited amount of data. At present not much people believe in this theory but who knows what we may come to know in future.
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