For starters, the intention of creating a second brain presents an opportunity for us to understand the human mind a little bit better.
- What does it do really well?
- What are some of its limitations?
- How can we improve based on what we know?
Understanding the Brain
When you are awake, a very small percentage of the information sent to your brain is actually being processed consciously at any given moment. Our senses* gather about 11 million bits per second of information and send it to the brain, and the conscious mind only processes .0005% or 50 bits/second of the maximum bits per second sent.
A typical reading rate is 300 words per minute, which is about five words per second. Assuming an average word has five characters, and there are roughly 2 bits per character, then the yield is 50 bits per second of conscious processing.
A tremendous amount of compression takes place in the conscious mind, as the rest of the sense-making happens subconsciously. A simple event like walking wouldn’t be possible if it had to be conscious because the mind couldn’t keep up with the task of processing.
When it comes to memory, according to George Miller’s The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two, the brain can save between five and nine pieces of information in short-term storage.
On the flip side, long-term storage is so vast that you could never use it all. If it were a TiVo, you could record your favorite show for 300 years straight and store something like a million gigabytes of data.
As stimuli come into the mind from our senses, the brain constantly prioritizes the data, and the things that are lower level tend to be forgotten. The information that is important will stay on the surface level of the brain in the same way we strategically place the salt and pepper shakers at the front of a spice rack.
The idea of building a second brain at bundleIQ represents our desire to combine the wisdom of humans with the processing power of computers to amplify your ability to solve problems faster. The world depends on it; read Lessons From Buckminster Fuller About Work and Life.
How We Can Improve By Using A Second Brain
As a primer, this article provides context for what’s next. Tomorrow, I will talk about how we plan to offset the challenges the brain has when it comes to consciously processing and storing information, and I’ll reveal how the human + machine relationship builds upon each other.
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*Information transmission rates
- Eyes — 10,000,000 bits/sec
- Skin — 1,000,000 bits/sec
- Ears — 100,000 bits/sec
- Smell — 100,000 bits/sec
- Taste — 1,000 bits/sec