Which is more Powerful: Human Brain or Computer? There was a time when a question like this would have made eyebrows raise, in a “what the heck are you talking about?” kind of attitude.
But now, with artificial intelligence, technology, and machine learning being as rampant and advanced as they can ever be, it’s actually a very valid question.
To answer this right off the bat, we’d like to remind you that even the best supercomputer in this world was a product of the human brain. HOWEVER, there are many further comparisons between the two.
The computer is more efficient with certain tasks, while the human brain is more effective with others.
There is a lot to consider, and we encourage you to keep reading through this article to get the most out of it. It’s interesting, we promise!
How Is the Human Brain Comparable to a Computer?
The human brain with about 10 billion neurons works like a computer.
We won’t bombard you with hard-to-understand science, but basically, human brains and computers can perform similar tasks such as:
- Information processing
- Information or memory storage
The neurons in our nervous system send signals and information to each other and our other systems.
In the same way, computer systems have artificial neurons and transistors that send complex signals and data for them to function.
Here’s a quick list of their other interesting similarities:
- They use electrical signals (yes, your brain does that together with chemical signals as well.)
- They process information
- They have storage capacity for memory and knowledge
- They work as a system
- They perform operations
Basically, with the right programming and John Von Neumann coding wisdom, computers can achieve the performance of human beings’ day-to-day tasks.
But despite these similarities, there are still glaring differences that would make you think twice before you replace the humans in your life with artificial intelligence or supercomputers.
How Is the Human Brain Different from a Computer?
Well, first of all, computers need humans to operate them. Remember that.
But before we get into that, let’s dive into some of their other differences, shall we?
In terms of processing, there are advantages and disadvantages for each.
The human brain can process all sorts of information from external stimuli.
For example, the human brain can process the sound of a chirping bird – a computer can’t unless it’s programmed to do so and is attached with a sensor.
And the most important advantage of our brains is that it is capable of processing emotions, which we’ve never seen a computer that can really do that (don’t quote us Sci-Fi or AI movies, don’t give us Wall-E).
On the other hand, the computer can only process within the limits of what’s programmed into them.
But that’s the thing, the advances of technology now enables computers to work at an ever-increasing speed that we humans can’t keep up with.
It’s capable of deep learning without getting tired, and the computer memory is pretty much permanent unless a human deletes them.
This refers to the amount of energy being used. Both the human brain and the computer uses energy to function and send signals.
The human brain is more energy-efficient than computers. Our 10 billion neurons only use 10 watts – that’s 10x more efficient than computers.
That explains why you can still read a book even if you’re very tired. Or why you can still process things in the morning even if you’re just half asleep.
Computers, on the other hand, require 100 watts of power to function.
Your computers or gadgets can’t perform specific functions if it’s only running on 10% of battery, right?
And computers are basically useless without power or electricity.
Work Efficiency and Effectiveness
Both of them can perform in terms of work, but definitely not at a similar rate and speed.
The brain gets tired.
It also usually hates machine learning and mechanical work, since it gives us a sense of stagnancy. We’re not robots, and we need to rest.
Plus, the information our neurons process goes beyond work. We process our daily surroundings, we think about our real-world problems, and we are often occupied with so many worries.
But in terms of spotting non-mechanical mistakes, human motor control, sensing the tone, and detecting emotions in the workplace, the brain is an absolute winner.
Since a computer runs on electrical power, it has the ability to work without getting tired.
Well, of course overworking your machine can still lead to errors and issues like overheating, batteries draining, and such, but it’s controllable.
A computer won’t complain, and it doesn’t have other life problems or physical bodies to fix or think about.
And as we’ve touched on, they also have neurons that help them process at a speed that’s a lot faster.
Look at it like this:
For objective tasks, a computer has better efficiency in comparison to a brain. But for subjective tasks, then a brain is more reliable.
For example, if you need some help in checking objective test papers (multiple-choice, true or false, etc.), a computer will do a better job in terms of accuracy. They’re also more capable of multiple entries, like election ballots.
But if you’re checking essays, or reading recommendation letters, or analyzing contracts, a computer can’t do that.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs] [Q&A]
We’ll touch on some of the FAQs we’ve encountered. Hopefully, this section will clear some things for you!
1.) How Many Computers are Equivalent to the Brain?
First, this question is quite vague. It depends on the activity you’re using it for.
Second, human intelligence is subjective and we can’t just equate one with another accurately.
But to answer it roughly, a lot. Around 10,000 to 100,000 if we want to give it a number.
But the gist of it all is that a computer is not comparable to simulate the human brain if we’re taking into consideration all of the things that a brain can do.
2.) Does a Computer Have Neurons Too?
Well, it has transistors that work like neurons. But of course, they’re not the same biological neurons found in the brain of a human.
But like brain neurons, a computer has about 1 billion neurons that make up a complex computer system. They also transmit information and relay information.
3.) What Exactly Is a Neuron?
We’ve been mentioning “neuron” and “neurons” a lot, but what is it, exactly?
They are basically nerve cells called “information messenger”. The information we give to and receive from the brain doesn’t magically happen.
They go through electrical impulses and chemicals in processing the information.
These operations and information are transferred from one neuron to another neuron, then from the neurons to the brain, then from the brain to other parts of our system.
Similarly, a computer sends electrical signals to its system and transmits information like so!
4.) For Work, When’s the Best Time to Use a Computer, and When’s the Best Time to Rely on the Brain?
In terms of working, the computer can work at a better speed if it’s mechanical work. It can do things repeatedly all day, while humans can focus on other stuff.
If you’re aiming for more subjective work that needs human reasoning, you can trust the brain a little better.
Second, in terms of memory storage, a computer can hold more memory storage for data and other technological information. But of course, the memory storage capacity is only limited to what the computer can hold.
The memory files can also be deleted or hacked easily, so it’s unsafe.
Human memory is a relatively different thing. You can’t possibly memorize and retain all of the information you’ll receive and would need some sort of help for memory storage.
Final Verdict: Brain vs. Computer – Who Wins?
Our clear winner is still the human brain, of course.
All the amazingness of technology – from the internet to fast calculations, to the Getty images, to the information storage capacity, and yes, even the chess games that we can now play on computers – are still thanks to the ingeniousness of humans.
Here are our reasons:
- The brain is capable of processing mistakes that a computer won’t easily catch.
- It’s capable of understanding emotions and dealing with humans. If you’re in the service industry, go with humans.
- The decision-maker of operations and systems will still be mandated by the humans.
- It’s the winner in terms of energy efficiency.
But if you’re after systematic and mechanical work, then a computer will have a definite advantage.
It’s also more cost-efficient to use a computer for these types of jobs since they’re less prone to physiological obstacles; for example, sickness, diseases, burnout, etc.
As much as we’re rooting for the advancement of technology, we believe it’s not yet time to replace the brain with a computer.
Though there are a lot of similarities in comparison, and a computer has its own advantages, we still need the human touch and understanding of the brain.
But hey, who knows, maybe you’re the one who can bring advanced technology up a notch! Better have all rights reserved for that, ASAP!
But let us tell you this: overall, a computer should only be a supplement to our human capabilities. They should help us, not replace us.