Over the millennia, Man has come up with countless inventions, each moreingenious than the last. However, only now, as the computer arises thatmankind’s sentience itself is threatened.
Ridiculous, some may cry, but I saylook about you! The computer has already begun to hold sway over so many of thevital functions that man has prided himself upon before. Our lives are nowdependent upon the computer and what it tells you. Even now, I type this essayupon a computer, fully trusting that it will produce a result far superior towhat I can manage with my own to hands and little else. It has been commonly said that the computer can never replace the humanbrain, for it is humans that created them.
Is this a good reason why thecomputer must be inferior to humans? Is it always true that the object cannotsurpass its creator? How can this be true? Even if we just focus on a singlecreation of man, say the subject of this essay, the computer, there are manyways in which the computer has the edge over man. Let us start with basiccalculation. The computer has the capability to evaluate problems that man canhardly even imagine, let alone approach. Even if a man can calculate the sameproblems as a computer, the computer can do it far faster than he can possiblyachieve. Let us go one step further.
Say this man can calculate as fast as acomputer, can he, as the computer can, achieve a 100% rate of accuracy in hiscalculation? Why do we now go over the human data entry into a computer when amistake is noticed instead of checking the computer? It is because computersnow possess the ability to hold no error in its operation, where mankind has notadvanced 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? Itis because the failings of the human race are becoming more and more exposed asthe computer advances and becomes more and more omnipotent. Perhaps the computer is not truly a competitor with the human brain butrather its ideal. After all, the computer is far superior to the human brain inthose aspects where the brain is weakest. It is perhaps the attempt of thehuman brain to attain perfection after realising its own weaknesses.
If youthink about it carefully, do those who use the computer not use it supplementtheir own creative input? Maybe it is the subconscious attempt by us atreaching the next stage of evolution by our minds, creating a machine to do allthe dirty work for us while we sit back and allow our brains to focus oncreating, or destroying, as the case may be. This machine is the compensationfor the human brain’s weaknesses. The human brain has flaws in abundance, yet it also has many an edgeover the computer. It has the capacity to create, unlike the computer, and itcan work without full input, making logical assumptions about problems. Aperson can work with a wide variety of methods, seeing new, more efficient waysof handling problems. It can come up with infinite ways of getting aroundproblems encountered in day to day life, whilst a computer has a limitedrepertoire of new tricks it can come up with, limited by its programming.
Should improved programming be introduced, it is the human brain that figuresout the programming that will allow leeway for any improvements as vaguelyconceived by the human brain. It is the human brain that conceptualises theformulae 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 centralconcept of any concept, whilst the computer tends to take all things in theirentirety, which makes some problems near impossible to solve. Emotions too arean asset. Emotions allow the human brain to have evolved beyond a problem-solving machine. In truth, one characteristic of sentience, as we know it, isemotional maturity! Even a one-year-old baby knows infinitely more aboutemotions than the most sophisticated computers.
Emotions open the mind to vast,new realms of possibilities. The reason why computers cannot create is becauseof the lack of emotions. Anger allows the imagination to roam, inventingconcepts of new, ever more powerful weapons of destruction. Discontent inducesthe mind to conceive of new methods of fulfilment that could be expanded intosomething more. Puzzlement causes the mind to think of solutions. Curiosityleads to attempts to satisfy it, producing new discoveries and revelations.
The computer, on the other hand, though lacking in many aspects, isclearly the superior in many other aspects. In sheer speed of computation andretrieval of data, the computer is obviously by far the stronger. It has thecapacity to handle things on a far grander scale than the human brain could everconceive. The capacity to organise is massively improved as compared to thehuman brain. Measurements, results, applications can all be done down to thetiniest details, far beyond the human brain’s capabilities. Calculations can bedone with an accuracy nearly impossible to achieve manually.
A certainuniformity can be achieved in its functions, something a human can hardly hopeto achieve. The human brain has many flaws just as it has advantages. The randommindset of the human brain gives allowance for many mistakes to be made. Thoughtechnically the potential is there, this potential is never realised. I referto the potential to compute and store memory as efficiently or even more so thana computer. If potential cannot be realised, it is useless and the truecapability of the object is its present capability.
The human brain can neverperform tasks as efficiently or as tirelessly than the computer. This isbecause the human brain can get bored quite easily and tends to stray from thetask at hand. The computer does not get tired or bored, it just sits there andworks, no problems. The human brain is a constant. The ability of it has notchanged any time in recorded history, only the knowledge of man has changed, andthis knowledge is invested in the computer anyway. The computer has altereddrastically 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 simplecalculation device into a marvel of modern science, whilst the human braincannot do anything but just stays there, not changing, not improving. Emotionscan, too, be a liability as well as an asset. Emotions make the minddangerously unstable, performance subject to moods and emotional disruption. The computer suffers no such problems. The human brain is easily stressed outby events and loses effectiveness when tired. Emotions blur the human brain’scapacity to make clear, logical decisions, even when they are thrown before itseyes, and impair problem-solving capabilities.
Age also has a devastatingeffect on the function of the human brain. Once senility sets in, the brain isof little use to anyone, and the person becomes a liability. Computers are far from perfect themselves. Computers have only alimited capacity for learning and even this usually is not entirely accurate,for the computer lacks the common sense of the human brain, thus it cannotaccurately 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, forif there is a bug in the program, it cannot go in by itself and change it.
Itwould not even realise that it was making a mistake until a human spots it andcorrects it. Also, a computer cannot create, for creation requires a curiosityand the capacity for independent thought, which is something the computer willnot have, at least in the near future. Lacking the ability to create, it cannottruly pose a threat to mankind, but once it does acquire this ability, it willthen be set to take over from the human brain. The human brain is as incredible as it is flawed, whilst the computer isa fantastic machine, but seriously lacking in many aspects.
While neither isperfect on its own, together they complement each other so perfectly that it isa heck of a potent combination. (1436 words) Category: Science