The Human Brain Vs. The Computer

The Human Brain vs. the Computer
Over the millennia, Man has come up with countless inventions, each more
ingenious than the last. However, only now, as the computer arises that
mankind’s sentience itself is threatened. Ridiculous, some may cry, but I say
look about you! The computer has already begun to hold sway over so many of the
vital functions that man has prided himself upon before. Our lives are now
dependent upon the computer and what it tells you. Even now, I type this essay
upon a computer, fully trusting that it will produce a result far superior to
what I can manage with my own to hands and little else.

It has been commonly said that the computer can never replace the human
brain, for it is humans that created them. Is this a good reason why the
computer must be inferior to humans? Is it always true that the object cannot
surpass its creator? How can this be true? Even if we just focus on a single
creation of man, say the subject of this essay, the computer, there are many
ways in which the computer has the edge over man. Let us start with basic
calculation. The computer has the capability to evaluate problems that man can
hardly even imagine, let alone approach. Even if a man can calculate the same
problems as a computer, the computer can do it far faster than he can possibly
achieve. Let us go one step further. Say this man can calculate as fast as a
computer, can he, as the computer can, achieve a 100% rate of accuracy in his
calculation? Why do we now go over the human data entry into a computer when a
mistake is noticed instead of checking the computer? It is because computers
now possess the ability to hold no error in its operation, where mankind has not
advanced in this area in any noticeable margin. Why do you think the words
‘human error’ and ‘to err is human’ have become so popular in recent years? It
is because the failings of the human race are becoming more and more exposed as
the computer advances and becomes more and more omnipotent.

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Perhaps the computer is not truly a competitor with the human brain but
rather its ideal. After all, the computer is far superior to the human brain in
those aspects where the brain is weakest. It is perhaps the attempt of the
human brain to attain perfection after realising its own weaknesses. If you
think about it carefully, do those who use the computer not use it supplement
their own creative input? Maybe it is the subconscious attempt by us at
reaching the next stage of evolution by our minds, creating a machine to do all
the dirty work for us while we sit back and allow our brains to focus on
creating, or destroying, as the case may be. This machine is the compensation
for the human brain’s weaknesses.

The human brain has flaws in abundance, yet it also has many an edge
over the computer. It has the capacity to create, unlike the computer, and it
can work without full input, making logical assumptions about problems. A
person can work with a wide variety of methods, seeing new, more efficient ways
of handling problems. It can come up with infinite ways of getting around
problems encountered in day to day life, whilst a computer has a limited
repertoire of new tricks it can come up with, limited by its programming.

Should improved programming be introduced, it is the human brain that figures
out the programming that will allow leeway for any improvements as vaguely
conceived by the human brain. It is the human brain that conceptualises the
formulae and methods by which the computer goes about its work. The human brain,
given the time, can learn to understand anything, it can grasp the central
concept of any concept, whilst the computer tends to take all things in their
entirety, which makes some problems near impossible to solve. Emotions too are
an asset. Emotions allow the human brain to have evolved beyond a problem-
solving machine. In truth, one characteristic of sentience, as we know it, is
emotional maturity! Even a one-year-old baby knows infinitely more about
emotions than the most sophisticated computers. Emotions open the mind to vast,
new realms of possibilities. The reason why computers cannot create is because
of the lack of emotions. Anger allows the imagination to roam, inventing
concepts of new, ever more powerful weapons of destruction. Discontent induces
the mind to conceive of new methods of fulfilment that could be expanded into
something more. Puzzlement causes the mind to think of solutions. Curiosity
leads to attempts to satisfy it, producing new discoveries and revelations.

The computer, on the other hand, though lacking in many aspects, is
clearly the superior in many other aspects. In sheer speed of computation and
retrieval of data, the computer is obviously by far the stronger. It has the
capacity to handle things on a far grander scale than the human brain could ever
conceive. The capacity to organise is massively improved as compared to the
human brain. Measurements, results, applications can all be done down to the
tiniest details, far beyond the human brain’s capabilities. Calculations can be
done with an accuracy nearly impossible to achieve manually. A certain
uniformity can be achieved in its functions, something a human can hardly hope
to achieve.

The human brain has many flaws just as it has advantages. The random
mindset of the human brain gives allowance for many mistakes to be made. Though
technically the potential is there, this potential is never realised. I refer
to the potential to compute and store memory as efficiently or even more so than
a computer. If potential cannot be realised, it is useless and the true
capability of the object is its present capability. The human brain can never
perform tasks as efficiently or as tirelessly than the computer. This is
because the human brain can get bored quite easily and tends to stray from the
task at hand. The computer does not get tired or bored, it just sits there and
works, no problems. The human brain is a constant. The ability of it has not
changed any time in recorded history, only the knowledge of man has changed, and
this knowledge is invested in the computer anyway. The computer has altered
drastically for the better in such a short period of time that it is incredible.

The computer has had improvements added to it almost non-stop, from a simple
calculation device into a marvel of modern science, whilst the human brain
cannot do anything but just stays there, not changing, not improving. Emotions
can, too, be a liability as well as an asset. Emotions make the mind
dangerously unstable, performance subject to moods and emotional disruption.

The computer suffers no such problems. The human brain is easily stressed out
by events and loses effectiveness when tired. Emotions blur the human brain’s
capacity to make clear, logical decisions, even when they are thrown before its
eyes, and impair problem-solving capabilities. Age also has a devastating
effect on the function of the human brain. Once senility sets in, the brain is
of little use to anyone, and the person becomes a liability.

Computers are far from perfect themselves. Computers have only a
limited capacity for learning and even this usually is not entirely accurate,
for the computer lacks the common sense of the human brain, thus it cannot
accurately realise its own mistake, if any. For example, a computer may send a
$10 million tax bill to a person earning $30000 a year and not blink an eye, for
if there is a bug in the program, it cannot go in by itself and change it. It
would not even realise that it was making a mistake until a human spots it and
corrects it. Also, a computer cannot create, for creation requires a curiosity
and the capacity for independent thought, which is something the computer will
not have, at least in the near future. Lacking the ability to create, it cannot
truly pose a threat to mankind, but once it does acquire this ability, it will
then be set to take over from the human brain.

The human brain is as incredible as it is flawed, whilst the computer is
a fantastic machine, but seriously lacking in many aspects. While neither is
perfect on its own, together they complement each other so perfectly that it is
a heck of a potent combination. (1436 words)


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