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Penn Tong's picture

2^50

In response, I believe that the fact that .000001% of our total neurons being made up of sensor and motor neurons is not as surprising as most of us thought during class. So we have about 10,000+ sensory-motor neurons. It may seem just a few compared to interneurons, but 10,000+ is actually a HUGE number. So if each of those nerves can be excited or at rest, then think of all the possible combinations you could have of excited or resting nerves. Technically it is 2^ 10,000 . That is a ridiculous number. 2^10 = 1024 2^11 = 2048 (2^50 > 10^15 !!!!!)

So what I'm saying is managing all these inputs in our environment with 10,000 sensor and motor neurons is actually conceivable.

Leaving us with over 10^11 interneurons, imagine the possibilities the brain can do with that.

So I calculated that an 80 year old person will have lived about 2.5 x 10^12 milliseconds. That is less than 2^50. So if we were to live 80 years it is possible that each millisecond we experience is a different combination of neurons.
So maybe the brain is only made up of neurons turning on and off depending on the input. Maybe the brain really is just a very complex machine. I'm not saying it IS the answer, but it is definetly plausible. Who knows.

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