The human brain is like a great natural computer. Among its main functions is the control of voluntary movements, intelligence and memory. It is capable of processing images in 13 milliseconds and new information to learn quickly. But is there a limit? How much can humans learn? Is there a limit on memory capacity?
More than a billion neurons make up the human brain. Between them, around a trillion connections can be generated, which allow the strengthening and development of intelligence and memory.
However, with the passage of time these neural connections begin to limit and it becomes more difficult to learn and remember. The cognitive capacities of the brain involve three elements that are closely related: information, memory and practice.
In order to encode the information that reaches the brain, the human body uses memory. There are two more relevant types: short-term memory and long-term memory.
The first is capable of holding the information in mind for the time necessary for its use. It is considered the working memory and is the one that is applied to remember a telephone number to write or dial it, retain an address to reach it, etc.
For its part, long-term memory includes autobiographical memory. It is a much more complex memory than the previous one. This is able to retain memories of life events, recent or distant.
Implicit memory is also part of long-term memory, and it is what allows us to remember how to drive a car, ride a bicycle or write; since that “information” is accessed without the need for conscious thought.
It is not just a matter of remembering. To use information efficiently, practice is necessary to achieve a deep understanding of facts and reality.
Practice is the most effective way to create long-term memories. So knowledge could find a limitation in the sense of lack of time to properly practice what you want to learn.
However, some people develop extraordinary abilities to remember information and learn more quickly. Among them is Chao Lu, world champion of the Pi number memorization ranking, who, in 2005, achieved the feat of remembering 67,980 digits of pi in just over 24 hours.
Spanish Ramón Campayo, meanwhile, has been the winner more than seven times in the World Rapid Memory Championship. Its comprehensive reading speed is over 2,500 words per minute.
However, it has not been possible to accurately calculate the exact memory storage capacity in the brain. It is not yet known how to measure human memory. Some memories take up more space as they involve more details, and others are easily forgotten to free up space.
British philosopher Colin McGinn has repeatedly argued that the human brain has a “cognitive shutdown.” For the expert, the mind will never understand certain problems or philosophical enigmas such as the problem of the mind-body relationship that it considers impossible to solve because its solutions are inaccessible to the human mind.
In this sense, it is possible to believe that the capacity of the human brain cannot be expanded to infinity. For his part, the American designer Buckminster Fuller described in his book “Critical Path” (1982) what is known as the “knowledge doubling curve”
The author argued that, until 1900, human knowledge had doubled every century. By the end of World War II, human knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Each time, the increase is faster and greater. Since the emergence of the “internet of things” it is estimated that the duplication is occurring every 12 hours.
Technology and knowledge
In the past, ancient civilizations not only used rock drawings to communicate, but also to download memories into a “container” more durable than the mind.
With the help of technology, the brain’s cognitive abilities can be expanded. The organs of the body do not have the ability to detect X-rays, ultrasound or gravitational waves.
However, with the help of technological devices such as the microscope or radiographic films, man can reach this information by “translating” these physical processes so that the sensory organs can encode and understand them.
Mathematics is another type of technology capable of expanding the human mind. Its use has allowed man to represent complex concepts and processes that could not only be held or visualized in the mind. In fact, thanks to mathematical work it is possible to predict the weather for up to ten days without the use of a computer.
One for all and all for one
Man is a gregarious animal, and therefore works best in a group. The same goes for knowledge and the brain. A group of human brains are undoubtedly much brighter and more intelligent than one alone.
So knowledge in general is not the product of one man’s mind. Hence, scientific communities work together to solve the enigmas of science and reality.
Acquiring and sharing knowledge has been fundamental in modern societies. Now with the use of the internet and new technologies, people’s minds connect and share information, data and knowledge without any limitation. So it is present before a constant growth of expansion.
Nowadays there are many studies that look for the means to expand the human mind. A research from 2015 tries to connect and create brain-computer interfaces that allow the expansion of the mind’s substrate.
According to scientists, if the system were built correctly, sensations and movements could be experienced that are only given to other animals.
But the search for the expansion of the human mind has not taken place only today. Man has always wanted to understand and extend his knowledge and to find other ways to develop his intelligence. This is the case of the program that includes the CIA’s “Stargate” project.
The secret project Stargate
In the mid-1970s, the government of the United States of America carried out a secret program of about 20 million dollars, known mostly as Project Stargate.
The program was just one of many that made up a remote controlled viewing investigation plan as an intelligence tool. The project aimed to develop psychic abilities in agents and personnel through tests of remote viewing methodologies.
According to declassified CIA documentation, the project consisted of two main and independent activities: an investigation unit and an operational unit. The latter employed remote viewers aimed at training and gathering remote viewing intelligence.
Ultimately, the human being will continue to expand their knowledge with the use of new tools and challenging the limits of the mind. But will the capabilities of the human brain be infinite?