I’m watching a TiVO’d recording of the Science Channel’s re-broadcast/re-master of Carl Sagan’s old COSMOS series. He’s talking about the human brain, and tossed out an estimate of the amount of information the brain can store as “perhaps a hundred trillion bits.”
With the stereotypical “BILLIONS and BILLIONS” accent, of course; I’m most of the way through the series, and I still can’t get past that…
He proceeded to describe the vastness of such an amount of information in terms of a library of printed books. What an old metaphor. Now, 100 trillion bits is a little over 10 Terabytes, which is … actually not too much these days. Twenty large IDE drives. Google manages hundreds of times more information on commodity hardware. We’ve installed over three times as much at work.
Kind of takes away the sense of wonder, doesn’t it. Maybe when the science channel re-did the special effects, they should have added a few more zeros to the numbers.