The amazing energy efficiency of the brain

Our brain, despite all the information it processes, hardly consumes energy. As the neuroscientist explains widely Read Montague in his book Your Brain Is (Almost) Perfect, there is no point of comparison if we look at the energy consumption of Gary Kasparov Y Deep blue (a supercomputer developed by IBM) when a game of chess is played.

According to Montague, the brain of the human player would be wasting the order of fifteen or twenty watts of energy, while Deep Blue would be spending on the order of thousands of watts. Similarly, although Deep Blue needed a large number of fans to combat the heat it generated by performing so many thousands of calculations (it was able to calculate 200 million positions per second, twice as fast as the 1996 version), the Kasparov's brain played the game at normal temperature.

In part, the secret of Kaspárov's brain energy efficiency lies in the fact that he has spent his entire life incorporating game strategies to transform them into mechanical and economic algorithms. Almost like us when we brush our teeth or drive the car home thinking about other things.

As Kasparov's cognitive strategy improved, he no longer had to consciously go through the opening steps of a game: it was enough to perceive the board quickly, efficiently and with less interference from consciousness. And so he barely had an energy consumption of a fifteen-watt bulb, as he explains Dick swaab in his book We are our brain:

This means that the total energy expenditure of a person's brain over a life of about eighty years would not amount to more than 1,200 euros, according to current prices, as calculated by Michel Hofman. For that price it is impossible to get a computer with such a long lifespan. For 12 euros, energy can be supplied to one billion neurons throughout life! A fantastic and efficient machine with parallel connections and also better prepared for image processing and associations than any computer.

Video: Amazing Energy Facts To Blow Your Mind (April 2020).