Technology comes out swinging. The amount smartphones can store grows every year. You can cram thousands of songs, games, apps, videos, podcasts, and pictures on them. Some computer hard drives can store multiple “terabytes” of information. Just one terabyte can hold about 12.5 days worth of videos! That’s pretty impressive.
But your brain isn’t backing down. Sure, you probably forget where you put your homework sometimes. But your brain stores far more than any computer. Think about it. You remember names, birthdays, your favorite ice cream shop, conversations with friends, music, scenes from TV shows, jokes, embarrassing moments, the smell of cookies, and even what happened in 1776.
Scientists aren’t even sure how much your brain can store, but it’s a lot more than a few terabytes. It’s mindboggling! And unlike unthinking technology that stores everything it’s told, including useless details, your gray blob remembers only what you need.
The brain starts strong in this round. Here’s how you can tell. Look at this page, and then look all around the room—fast. Did your brain slow down because of all the sights?
No. In fact, your brain does some heavy lifting here. Light bounces off whatever you’re looking at and then streams into your eyes. From there, your brain takes the light and figures out what’s in front of you. Instantly.
The camera on your phone, with all its megapixels, can take some impressive pictures and videos. They’re clear and colorful. But your eyes work on a much higher level than our best cameras. And the video doesn’t skip and jitter when a runner dashes past. You could say that your vision is over 500 megapixels. (That’s only a rough estimate because of how amazing our vision is.)
So your brain crunches much, much higher quality video than any computer—and still does it without a slowdown.
Technology knows a thing or two about processing power. After all, every computer comes with at least one processor that crunches up data and spits out a stream of results. Our gadgets get faster and faster all the time. The speediest supercomputers come packed with thousands of processors to solve really complicated problems. So, can your brain keep up?
While you probably won’t be solving super-complicated math problems in your head, your brain is no slouch. It keeps your heart beating, it constantly monitors smells in the air, it shifts your body to keep it balanced, it figures out the words people are saying, and it packs away important information.
But that’s not what really takes the prize. Your brain contains about 100 billion tiny cells called neurons (NUR-ons). Electricity passes through different cells while you think. The more you challenge your brain, the more these cells form new connections with each other.
In other words, your brain does not just process information; it grows and adapts. Computers can’t rewire themselves.
We love computers and smart phones, but they don’t stand a chance against that wrinkled brain God made.