No digits today

I did not have time this evening to do any memorization. I have a lot to do for some days here now.

Anyway, I still want to write about some thoughts I have had about memory. I am thinking like this. As I have said before, digits are quite abstract and difficult to memorize as such. But if we look at them from information point of view, then each digit represents roughly 3 bits of information, where 1 bit is what we have in computers, something that can only have two states, like 1 and 0, or On and Off. That is the smallest unit of information that we deal with. So, for example, 1000 digits is roughly 3000 bits.

Now, the question is, are 3000 bits a lot? We might initially think so. But why would we say that? Because memorizing 1000 digits is normally difficult, that’s why we think it is a lot. But from an information point of view, is it really a lot? For example, let’s say you watch a movie, a good movie that really captures your attention. Let’s even say you have seen it a few times, because it is so good. Now you meet someone who really wants you to describe the movie. So you describe it in detail, the story, the scenes, the photography, the actors. How much information have you communicated, expressed in bits? Is it more or is it less than 3000 bits? I think that you have probably communicated much more bits. In other words, you had memorized much more than 1000 digits, if you see it that way.

So memorizing 1000 digits is not a lot of information. Are 10,000 digits a lot? I think the answer is probably not. Are 100,000 digits a lot, not so sure about that either actually.

So, what I am doing when I memorize digits, is that I transform the information into a form that is more natural for us to memorize, organic life-like things, like events, images, situations, etc. as you have seen in the short micro stories I have sometimes mentioned. Then it is easy because it is actually not much to memorize, from an information point of view. Of course, when you have digits to memorize and transform them into stories, there is an additional amount of information added, like a wrapping-papper around the digits. But all in all, it is not a problem to handle.


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