Man Vs Machine (pg
3 of 3)
Ability and Adaptability
and Ability - So, even though we have proved it to you
that the brain is far more superior to today's best computers, many
of us out there wouldn't believe it. Why ? Because of the differences
in performance. We can obviously see that any low-end computer can
beat the fastest human at calculation as well as storing and processing
of any information. Here's what we have to say.
Although the brain has got more ability,
it has got more tasks to perform than that expected of a computer.
Did you realize that the brain is has to constantly take charge
of maintaining the human body functions for the entire lifetime
its host ? Actions like breathing, blinking, coordination of all
the body parts are controlled subconsciously by the brain all the
At the same time, the brain is constantly
bombarded by all your senses all at once. In one mere second, the
retina sends ten one-million-point images to the brain. At the same
time, your ear drums pass sound information real-time at higher-than-CD-quality.
And don't forget the information send to the brain by your sense
of touch and smell. If a normal higher-end computer was fed with
the information from a human's senses constantly and asked to process
and react to them, the computer would overload from too much information
because it can't react as fast as the brain could.
There are many reason why the brain
loses out to computers in simple and straightforward jobs (esp.
computational and recording jobs). The brain is made for general
purposes, not specifically just for computational jobs. In theory,
the brain could be as quick as a computer in computational and recording
jobs but in real life, it will never be possible because the average
human is constantly distracted by his overwhelming senses, his emotions
and his own thoughts. There are exceptional people who could read
through a 500 page book in less than an hour and remember all the
contents as well as people who could perform mathematical calculations
at a snap of their fingers but they are only rare examples that
prove the hidden potential of the human brain.
brain - Because
the human brain receives so much information from all the senses
at a constant rate, it is only natural that it would tend to learn
and adapt very quickly about its environment and surroundings. In
fact, a glance of any of the senses at the surroundings would already
provide the brain with enough information about the environment
to allow the brain to react immediately with a response.
Many of us think that it may seem
natural that the human brain is better at non assisted learning
and acquiring of new skills when compared to a computer.The human
brain is able to learn by trail and error, induce conclusions from
past experience and create new methods to deal with the situations
it has come across.
However, when learning a new skill
or quitting a old habit, the human brain requires time to adapt
to the behaviours required. When a person does a particular task
repeatedly for a number of times, he would realize that the more
times he does it, the easier it is for him to do the same task.
When continued over longer periods of time, it becomes so easy for
the person that he does it sub-consiously, hence, it becomes a habit.
Even quitting of habits need adapting to, because the habits are
now part of the brain's sub consiousness and the brain performs
it even without instruction from the consiousness.
Remember that we told you that the
memory of a brain seems unabsolute ? That could also be a reason
behind the need for adaption during learning. To be given a permanent
place in the sub-consious mind, knowledge of the skills are to be
translated into relevant instructions for the various parts of the
mind so as to perfect the various requirements of the new skill.
The hand-eye coordination, finger control or the sense of timing
required for the new skill are aquired mostly through trial and
error, hence explaining the need for adaption.
Computers are getting smarter by the day. Computer programs at research
labs are constantly learning anything that the programmers are feeding
them with. Voice reconigtion engines are developed but feeding the
program with thousands of different voices from entire towns so
that it could pick up patterns in speech, accents and slangs and
learn to reconigse them. OCR (optical character recogition) programs
are picking up new tips and patterns as it observes the different
styles of writings from its ever increasing database. Smarter
programs are now able to classify pictures of objects it never saw
before into different catogories in real-time by studying their
shapes and textures or by observing similair patterns in the picture's
The rate of learning computers using
smart programs have a big advantage, that is they can share their
data between different computers. Data and results achieved first
by other computers by trial and error or by observation of patterns
can be copied directly to other computers, hence increasing their
rate of learning.
Since the memory of computers are
absolute (either recorded or deleted) , computers need no adapting
when they are loaded with traditional programs and are asked to
run them. However, some smart programs are capable of learning by
trial & error, learning from their mistakes and recording the
best solutions to any problems it faces. (an example is the household
(created by Henry Thorne) which would memorise the way around a
new house without anyhelp simply by trial and error ; banging into
walls and barriers and drawing a map of the landmarks it has banged
Computer learning techniques seem
to have taken the right pushes at the right areas, especially the
step towards learning to learn by using of the two most important
senses, sight and sound. It would not be a overstatement to say
that computers would in a decade's time be able to learn simply
from observation and examples; In the future, we can expect simplier
yet smarter programs.
who is the Superior ?
The brain is still the overall winner
in many fields when it comes to numbers. However, because of its
other commitments, the brain is less efficient when a person tries
to use it for one specific function. The brain is as we can put
it, a general purpose processor when compared to the computer. It
therefore loses out when it comes to efficiency and performance.
We have given the estimate for total human performance at 100 million
MIPS, but the level of efficiency for which this can be applied
to any task may only be a small fraction of the total. (this fraction
depends on the adaptibilty of the brain to the task)
Deep Blue, the chess machine that
bested world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, used specialized
chips to process chess moves at a the speed equivalent to a 3 million
MIPS universal computer. This is 1/30 of the estimate for total
human performance. Since it is plausible that Kasparov, probably
the best human player ever, can apply his brain power to the strange
problems of chess with an efficiency of 1/30, Deep Blue's near parity
with Kasparov's chess skill supports the theory of the level of
efficiency of total performance. ( Garry Kasparov beat Deep Blue
with a very close, 2 -1 )