# Thinking Speed

1. Apr 8, 2004

### ElectroPhysics

"Think of the devil and there he is", definitely a devil knows the speed of thinking. I need your openion on the following question.
Q: What is the speed of thinking

A) Infinite
B) limited and variable
C) Constant other than speed of light
D) Same as speed of light
E) Zero
D) Not discovered till now
E) None of the above
F) Any other option that u know

2. Apr 8, 2004

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,1446_A_1143790_1_A,00.html [Broken]

Note also that according to everything that we know, the speed of light would apply in any case.

Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
3. Apr 8, 2004

### Chen

You won't believe me, but I thought about this just the other day. I was wondering how fast humans are able to think and perform calculations. I guess my answer would be limited and variable, not necessarily from one person to another, but from one type of "thinking" to another.

4. Apr 8, 2004

### motai

Might this also explain other reactions as well? Consider a sprinter. When the gun is fired, it usually takes 1/100th of a second for the sound of the gunshot to register in the brain before the sprinter takes off.

5. Apr 8, 2004

### jimmy p

My thinking speed is half the speed of my acting/speaking speed.

6. Apr 8, 2004

### Jake

Human thinking speed varies on many factors. For example, say your trying to figure out an algebraic equation, and for some reason, you decide to solve it in a very round about way...your thinking will be slow. But say you chose to solve it in the traditional way, you will figure it out pretty fast (taking out the variable factor of how fast you write). So your overall thinking speed varies largely based on the decisions you make and how much you know.

It seems the actual computational speed of the brain is relativly the same, but the difference comes about what is computed. Depending on what is computed in the brain, a given task can vary widely

Ofcourse that's all speculation

7. Apr 8, 2004

### Macgyver

I would also speculate that the distraction factor plays a major role in computational speed. (For me it is a very big factor) You may be able to process very quickly but if you contiualy get side tracked or take a second to think of something else (ie "what was that noise"), it may be a very short time spent thining about it, you will have to think back to where you left off.

But then again I may just have ADD.

8. Apr 9, 2004

### ElectroPhysics

I don't believe in telepathy. May be because i don't know how it works. If I'm not wrong these people claim that they can communicate to others mind.
What do u think, they communicate instantly i.e. without time delay?

9. Apr 9, 2004

Computer
Computational Units: 1CPU, 10^8 gates
Storage Units: 10^10 bits RAM, 10^11 bits disc
Cyclic Time: 10^-9 seconds
Bandwidth: 10^10 bits/second

Human Brain
Computational Units: 10^11 neurones
Storage Units: 10^11 neurones, 10^14 synapses
Cyclic Time: 10^-3 seconds
Bandwidth: 10^14 bits/second

Approximate figures as of 2003. Note that the computer numbers have all increased by at least a factor of ten over the past decade, and are expected to do it again this coming decade. The human brain has barely changed in 10,000 years.

Human brain wins on massive parallel processing.

All this info courtesy of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, Second Edition, Stuart Russel and Peter Norvig.

10. Apr 9, 2004

### Chen

That's nice, Adam, but can the human brain continuously "work" at 1014 updates per second for more than a few hours (or minutes!)? Not to mention, how much of that power do we actually utilize when solving problems?

11. Apr 9, 2004

Some parts of the brain work continuously at functions related to keeping the body alive. Some parts work more or less at different times. Either way, currently our brains do a lot more than any computers.

12. Apr 9, 2004

### Chen

Theoretically they could do a lot more, but I don't believe they actually do. I think it'd be better to say that our brains could do a lot better than computers if we were able to focus ourselves better. Currently computers can and do solve problems faster than any human could, which is why they are used so extensively in almost any field of research.

13. Apr 9, 2004

### Jake

I don't think the actual speed of the nueronally activity changes, but I do think that what and how much neural activity there is does change, which is what the change in thinking speed from person to person, and from moment to moment comes from.

Also the power of a human brain and computer brain is totally different. There really isn't a good way to compare them without knowing the almost precise number of information processesed each second, and even that would be slightly arbitrary as we equated real-time information to bits and bytes

14. Apr 9, 2004

No, humans brains really do more. All over your brain, there are processes running, right now. More processes than you could keep track of. They regulate hormones, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, every single muscle movement in your body... Take a look at the Task List on your computer, if you're using Windows it's the list of Processes in the second tab. Maybe two dozen processes? Brains do more than that when they're almost dead.

15. Apr 9, 2004

### Chen

But that is precisely my point. Let's say you run Maya on Windows. As you say, Windows itself doesn't require that much resources out of your computer, so it has enough for Autocad. Now let's say you are trying to perform a very complicated calculation in your head. Your brain is so busy keeping the rest of your body alive, you can only use so much of its resources to perform the calculation. And can you even begin to compare rendering complex 3D images to a mathematical calculation, complicated as it may be?

The fact remains that computers can do their job much faster than humans, given clear and determined algorithms. They may not be able to think or jump to conclusions, but they can perform calculations much faster (and better!) than you could ever imagine. Otherwise why would you buy a calculator?

16. Apr 9, 2004

### Jake

Computational ability and computational speed are two different things. Computers have a superior computational ability over humans when it comes to raw number crunching, whereas humans have a computational ability over computers when it comes to correctly associating custom-made associations and concepts. But as far as the raw computational speed and amount, IE how much raw information is getting processed, is hard to say. You cant simply say "look how many processes are going on in windows, vs what we THINK goes on in the human brain". We simply know too little about this to say something like that.

17. Apr 9, 2004

My brain renders perfect images faster than any computer on Earth. With animation!

18. Apr 9, 2004

### tribdog

lol, Even though everyone else ignores you I'm laughing. Do you get the same reaction in real life? Do you talk and no one listens? Or maybe they do listen but don't comment.
My girlfriend's favorite phrases are "He's just kidding." or "Ignore him, he's just being Brian." or "I'd like to apologize in advance for anything he is about to say."
Anyway, back to what I was saying: you make me laugh.

19. Apr 9, 2004

### jimmy p

LOL, i seem to get ignored a lot UNLESS the thread is deliberately humorous... or maybe i should take it as a hint...

In the real world i dont get ignored, people will pay attention to what i say, cos they like to laugh. Unfortunately, it's got to the point where NO-ONE takes me seriously anymore, i could cut my own arm off and people would think i'm pulling a prank... actually, this reminds me of a story which could be related...

Ok, story goes... one night my friend and i were bored, so i decided to send messages to people to say that my friend was in intensive care after being hit by a car (ok ok, it's insensitive but we were bored and it was HIS idea!!). Anyway, while he wasnt looking, i sent that message to the girls and another message sayin that he was in hospital because you got his genitalia caught in his vacuum cleaner, and ruptured a blood vessel, to tons of his male friends. Anyway, long story short, i got the blame for being cruel with the girl's feelings and my friend got stick for weeks about being the person who (polite now) "sleeps with vacuum cleaners"

actually now that i think about it, that was when people stopped taking me seriously....

20. Apr 9, 2004

### jimmy p

oh yeah, thanx for appreciating my work tribdog, you have me in stitches most of the time as well!!