Critical Section

non-realtime dreams

Monday,  05/09/05  07:36 AM

Last night I had an upset stomach.  Really bad, like I ate something bad.  I was barely asleep and barely awake all night.  I usually don't dream - or I guess I should say I usually don't remember dreams - but I had quite a few last night.  I was struck particularly that dreams don't take place in realtime.  At one point I was awake at 4:00, then fell asleep and dreamed, and then awoke at 4:15.  The dream was incredibly detailed and took place over the course of hours - even now I can remember many more details than could possibly have occurred in 15 minutes.  (I broke my leg skiing and was roaming a hospital trying to find a doctor to set it, if you must know...  I finally found one, and they finally had me about to have my leg operated on, and they began to give me anesthetic, and I woke up.)

Anyway this is a weird capability of the human mind, that it can play through events in non-realtime.  It just shows that "sensory time" differs from "CPU time" in organic brains, just as it does in computers.  I've written device drivers and they are always waiting on the device, the world of atoms is much slower than the world of bits.  Someday we'll have the ability to interface to human brains, both for input (adding information to brains from the external world), and for output (measuring what brains are doing, or even following along with what they're thinking).  Weird to think that you could "learn" something via a dreamlike experience in much less time than it would take if it really happened.  Shades of the Matrix!

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