I’ve recently came across something that completely blew my mind: brain channel capacity. I found this reference while reading the amazing book by Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point. Here is how he describes this concept:
“There is a concept in cognitive psychology called the channel capacity, which refers to the amount of space in our brain for certain kinds of information”
Channel capacity is, simply put, a measure of the brain’s ability to process and store new information. Here is a practical example of how we, unawarely, put this to use every day: you want to call someone; you pick-up your phone; you search for that person’s name; you call them. Do you actually know that person’s phone number? No, you don’t. But you do know where the phone number is saved — and by “you”, I mean your brain.
This struck me as an amazingly simple, yet extremely powerful, capability of our minds. We don’t need to memorise every single data point that we are faced with on a daily basis, we just need to know where and how to find that data.
Our brains store the relevant pieces of information — pointers, which then lead us to the actual information. There’s a degree of trust that the information will exist at a certain location, under a certain format, and for a certain context. With that given, we only need to memorise where and how to retrieve the information, thus alleviating our memory for other things. Amazing right?
So why am I so surprisingly inspired about this concept to decide to write an article about it? Yep, if you know me, you’ve probably guessed it: blockchain is the name of the game.
Having been around this world for a bit more than two years now, there’s this one recurring question that people tend to ask me more often than I would like to admit:
Blockchain has limited data storage capabilities. How is it going to change the world, if it can’t even compete with the most basic databases in existence?
Right now I won’t go into the details of this ludicrous misconception that people still have about the technology — even those so called “blockchain experts”… sigh
Blockchain should be seen as a trust layer. Much like the brain, that only needs to memorise certain critical pieces of information, blockchain should be used in the same way, in order to provide trust. You don’t need to store every.single.data.point!
You want to prove your data has not been tampered with? Hash it, and put it on the blockchain. You want to make sure that the content you created can be linked back to you? Hash it, and put it on the blockchain. Maybe you want to sell your car, but still be reassured that ownership is correctly transferred? Tokenise it, and put it on the blockchain.
Trust is the name of the game, and blockchain is its chauffeur
Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in this article are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author — and, since we are critically-thinking human beings, these views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time. Please do not hold me to them in perpetuity.