Anyone contemplating buying a high definition TV might like to consider the following, one crucial part of the system will always operate at a much lower data rate than whatever device you select and carry home from the store. - The human consciousness, that part of the chain which actually experiences and recalls those movies has a data rate much, much lower than the TV. Tests have shown that the conscious experience runs at little better than 20 bits per second. Compared to HDTV which brags about data rates of 10 million bits per second.
Of course, the manufacturers of modern audio visual systems claim to deliver an experience much closer to reality than earlier models. What we call experience includes a welter of unconscious sensation. All this enriches things but what we remember of the event is what has fallen into the domain of the conscious mind. The conscious seems to be responsible for evaluating what we see and hear and what we remember.
The unconscious mind IS engaged, turning what is imaged on the back of the retina into objects and the sounds heard into speech. The conscious, takes all that, edits our experience and saves the highlights. In which case, why not cut to the chase and just live the highlights. Is there a way?
Ace SF writer Philip K Dick conceived the idea of missing out the expensive, and often largely boring parts of experience. In, We can remember it for you, wholesale. a travel agency supplied only the memories, and a few souvenirs, of pricey tourist jaunts to Mars.
Now back in the early days of TV, the supporters of radio liked to say that the pictures, on radio, were better. Listening or reading a well written narrative invokes pictures in the head. And I'm remind that those first, text only, computer games were pretty engaging.
The data rate of reading is very close to the measured data rate of consciousness. But during reading the experience is subtly different. Watching a movie, or in real life, the unconscious mind reduces a wealth of audio visual events to a narrative that the conscious can follow. When reading the conscious induces mental images which illustrate the narrative internally.
In reading too, part of the unconscious IS engaged, first taking the printed word and converting it to an internal voice. This seems much like the voice of conscious, that internal narrative that produces a commentary on all the richest parts of actual experience.
So the message is, don’t waste your money on HDTV. A writer sat down, and dreamed up a story, it’s been filmed, distributed and shown on your TV. Then, assuming it turns out to be memorable, your brain converts it back to a narrative, and finally to a set of memories,
Now let’s face it, you could have got there sooner and cheaper by buying the book, and the book would last longer.
The User Illusion