Human Computer-He Can Remember Giga Bytes of Data


90% of the people including me, can’t remember anything in the exam hall what we just studied one day before the examination. How would you call the person who can speed through a book in about an hour and remembers almost everything he had read? Kim Peek can memorize vast amounts of information in subjects ranging from history and literature, geography, sports, and music? He can read two pages at time one with left and other with the right eye. According to an article in The Times newspaper, Kim Peek could accurately recall the contents of at least 12,000 books

Who is Kim Peek?

Kim Peek was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1951 with a medical condition that bundle of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain is missing and also other secondary connectors of the brain. There is speculation that his neurons made unusual connections due to the absence of a corpus callosum, which resulted in an increased memory capacity. Due to the cerebellum damage, he couldn’t button up his shirt and couldn’t able to take care of himself. In psychological testing, Peek scored below average (87) on general IQ tests.

Kim wasn’t allowed to school as he was uncontrollable in the school. Hence, tutors visited his house twice a week for 45 minutes. He completed his high school curriculum at the age of 14.

Kim is a powerful old computer? Why?

At the age of 18, he got a job working out the payroll for 160 people. This was a task that took him only a few hours, without the need for a calculator. However, he became unemployed a decade later when his employers decided to computerize payroll accounting, and he was replaced by two full-time accountants and a computer.

As he was having exceptional memory power, Scientists from NASA Ames Research center examined Peek with a series of tests including CT scan and MRI scan to analyze what makes him have this exceptional memory capacity. He has appeared in a BBC Documentary ‘The Boy with Incredible Brain’.   Kim Peek is the real inspiration for the Oscar winning film “Rain Man’ (1988). Peek died of a heart attack at his home on December 19, 2009, aged 58.