Minds and Machines

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 387-389

First online:

Off-Loading Memory to the Environment: A Quantitative Example

  • John CaseAffiliated withDepartment of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Delaware

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R.W. Ashby maintained that people and animals do not have to remember as much as one might think since considerable information is stored in the environment. Presented herein is an everyday, quantitative example featuring calculation of the number bits of memory that can be off-loaded to the environment. The example involves one’s storing directions to a friend’s house. It is also argued that the example works with or without acceptance of the extended mind hypothesis. Additionally, a brief supporting argument for at least a form of this hypothesis is presented.

bits brain environment extended mind hypothesis mathematics