Re: 1000 humans in a grain of salt

Anders Sandberg (
23 Jan 1998 12:45:00 +0100

Hara Ra <> writes:

> Another approach is to count the number of possible brain states.
> Like kinetic gas theory, the important number is the number of
> identifiable states, waaay smaller than set of all possible states.

Let's see, there are around 10^11 neurons, and assuming each neuron
can be in two states (this is a big and uncertain assumption; it might
be better to say they can be in N different states, where N could be
large) there are 2^10^11 possible brain states.

If we regard a cortical column as the smallest unit of cognition, and
that differences in activations of cortical columns are what is
important, then there will be on the order of 2^10^9 possible
distinguishable brain states (assuming a binary activation of the
columns; very doubtful).

(the log of the ratio between these estimates gives an entropy of
10^11 bits or so; we can obviously stand plenty of noise)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y