Approximately how much "bandwidth", in bits per second, can typical human visual perception process?

Consider "The Matrix", where we assume a near-perfect digital encoding that can reproduce any experience nearly perfectly, compressed with a digital intelligence beyond our own. Now they need to create a cable that plugs into our brainstem. How much bandwidth would that cable need to carry, in order to simulate full human visual experiences?

For auditory processing -- given all the effort in digital audio compression, it seems likely the answer is somewhere close to 256 kbps (256,000 bits per second), at least within an order of magnitude, give or take. But vision seems far more complex, and I can't find any study or near-approximation that seems plausible.

Presumably the answer is somewhere from 1 mbps (1,000,000 bits per second) to 1,000 times that amount. A naive approach would be what is the theoretical bandwidth to create any arbitrary video, to the fidelity where human perception could not distinguish differences. However, this is so grossly far from accurate that I suspect it is almost meaningless. I am relatively aware that our visual and auditory processing compress and transform the inputs we perceive, leading to optical illusions etc, which would suggest a much lower number than we might otherwise expect.

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    $\begingroup$ This seems relevant: The computer model of the brain $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Mar 7 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ Amusingly, this indicates that most every other question of comparison between the brain and computers has already been asked except that of bandwidth. $\endgroup$ – Abacus Apr 8 at 19:24

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