Thursday, January 13, 2011

Information Overload and the Power of the Human Brain

There was a story last November in The New York Times that said that the lure of devices like cell phones, PDAs and computers — and the tidal wave of information they deliver — may be creating “a generation of kids … whose brains are going to be wired differently.”

I think it’s happening already … to all of us. Even the grown-ups! The ability to multitask and assimilate new information on the fly has always been a characteristic of the best PR practitioners. The digital revolution has just sped up the process. But we can handle it. After all, a single human brain has more switches than all of the computers and routers and internet connections on our planet.

Some experts estimate that there are four billion devices connected to the internet but, according to researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine, a typical healthy human brain contains about 200 billion nerve cells, or neurons, linked to one another via hundreds of trillions of tiny contacts called synapses, that function like microprocessors. In the cerebral cortex alone, there are roughly 125 trillion synapses … which is about equal to the number of stars that would fill 1,500 Milky Way galaxies.

Using a new imaging model, which they call array tomography, in conjunction with leading-edge computational software, the team of scientists, led by Dr. Steven Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology, found that the brain's complexity is beyond anything they'd imagined, “almost to the point of being beyond belief.”

The digital revolution or your brain. Who wins? My money’s on your brain!

Technorati Tags: The New York Times, Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Steven Smith, communications, public relations, Makovsky


Blogger markrose said...

We're reading a lot about the brain these days as Giffords goes through her rehab. It's an amazing, incomprehensible computer that operates differently for everybody. We're so 'wired' today that I can't imagine we'll ever go back to the days of reading, analysis, discussion, face-to-face meetings. Why is it so hard for everybody, even good friends, to pick up the phone and actually talk? Remember when the telephone was a great 'interactive' invention?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 9:33:00 AM  

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