Some might wonder what the differences between human brains and computers are. If you have also thought about this, then this guide is the right place for you. We’ll be discussing the difference between human brains and computers. If you’re interested in having an idea about these differences, then you should read through this guide keenly.
What is the human brain?
The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger, and every process that regulates our body. Together, the brain and spinal cord that extends from it make up the central nervous system or CNS.
The human brain does not follow any topology like computer networks. It changes its topology and creates a new connection every time a person learns anything new. On the other hand, information retrieval in the human brain is a complex process in which relevant information is obtained first and then represented in any manner.
How does the brain work?
The brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals throughout the body. Different signals control different processes, and your brain interprets each. Some make you feel tired, for example, while others make you feel pain.
Some messages are kept within the brain, while others are relayed through the spine and across the body’s vast network of nerves to distant extremities. To do this, the central nervous system relies on billions of neurons (nerve cells).
What is the computer brain?
The computer brain is a microprocessor called the central processing unit (CPU). The CPU is a chip containing millions of tiny transistors. It’s the CPU’s job to perform the calculations necessary to make the computer work — the transistors in the CPU manipulate the data. You can think of a CPU as the decision maker.
Another critical component in computers is memory. The two most important kinds of memory are read-only memory (ROM) and random access memory (RAM). Computers can read data stored in ROM, but can’t write new data to it. With RAM, computers can read from and write to that memory. Without computer memory, every calculation on a computer would be stateless. That means there’d be no way to preserve information from one moment to the next and every process would start on a clean slate. That’s not useful if you want to create complex programs.
A computer comprises several electronic components such as logic gates, transistors, capacitors, diodes, ICs, etc. This electrical component combination allows for extremely fast processing (can be in nanoseconds).
The amount of storage in computers can vary, and the capacity of memory is increasing while the size of memory is decreasing as memory technologies evolve. On the other hand, computer memory can be divided into two types: primary and secondary. Primary is used to save temporary values for mathematical procedures that require quick access or updates.
When the power is turned off, this type of memory content disappears. Secondary memory such as Hard disks, removable disks, and tape drivers is used to store data that needs to be kept for a long time, such as system data programs and other documents. The smallest addressable memory unit is a byte.
In order to establish connections between the computers with the help of several networking devices (like hubs, satellites, switches, workstations, and nodes), topologies such as star, bus, mesh, and ring are used.
How Is the Human Brain Comparable to a Computer?
The human brain with about 10 billion neurons works like a computer. basically, human brains and computers can perform similar tasks such as:
- Energy efficiency
Let the battle begin!
For day-to-day usage, most computer users will get by with 500GB of storage. Creatives, gamers, and other data-heavy users will often rely on additional cloud storage or a portable SSD. For the sake of argument, we’ll give the computer an average of 1TB of storage space.
What about the brain’s storage capacity? Well, it’s complicated.
Estimates vary on how many nerve cells, or neurons, exist in a typical brain. Many studies rely on 100 billion neurons, while a Stanford University study estimates that the brain actually has 200 billion neurons.
You might be thinking, “Wait, the computer has bytes and the brain has neurons. How do we compare the two?”
One marked difference between the human brain and computer flash memory is the ability of neurons to combine with one another to assist with the creation and storage of memories. Each neuron has roughly a thousand connections to other neurons. With over a trillion connections in an average human brain, this overlap effect creates an exponentially larger storage capacity.
Based on our understanding of neurons today, which is very limited, we would estimate the brain’s storage capacity at 1 petabyte, which would be the equivalent of over a thousand 1TB SSDs.
So far, it’s an even contest. The human brain has significantly more storage than an average computer. And a computer can process information exponentially faster than a human brain.
How about accessing memory? Can humans recall information better than a computer?
Well, it depends on what kinds of information we’re talking about.
For basic facts, the answer is an unequivocal no. If a computer “knows” that the capital of Nevada is Carson City, that fact will always be accessible. A human, on the other hand, may get confused or forget that fact over time, particularly after a long weekend in Vegas.
Where computers lag behind humans is the ability to assign qualitative rankings to information. For a computer, all information is exactly the same. Humans, on the other hand, have many different types of memories and prioritize memories based on their importance. You will undoubtedly remember numerous details about your wedding day, but you probably forgot what you had for lunch last Thursday. (It was a tuna sandwich on rye, in case you were wondering.)
Humans also relate memories to one another, so your memory of New Year’s Eve will tie to all of your other New Year celebrations over the course of your life. A computer lacks this ability, at least for now.
The contest is still a toss-up. Computers are faster and more precise, while humans have more storage capacity and nuance in accessing memories.
What about energy efficiency? Here is where it gets really fun.
A typical computer runs on about 100 watts of power. A human brain, on the other hand, requires roughly 10 watts. That’s right, your brain is ten times more energy-efficient than a computer. The brain requires less power than a lightbulb.
We may not be the brightest bulbs in the box, but then again, we don’t have to be.
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’s 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.
Key Difference Between Brain and Computer
- The brain can have 100 teraflops of memory with a density of 107 circuits per cm3, while computer memory has 100 million megabytes with a density of 1014 bits per cm3. Memory in the brain develops instantaneously by connecting synaptic links, whereas with a computer, additional chips are required to scale memory.
- The brain is self-organizing, but the computer has a predetermined structure.
- The brain uses both electrochemical and electromagnetic forms to storage to store information. Information is saved in symbolic and numeric form in a c
- In the brain, the information is transmitted using chemicals in order to fire an action potential in the neurons. On the other hand, in a computer, the data is kept in both symbolic and numeric forms.
- The Brain has an inbuilt backup system where the functioning pathways replace the damaged pathways. Backup systems, on the other hand, are created manually on a computer.
- The energy consumption in the brain is less than the computer.
- Although the brain’s processing power is limitless and allows for online processing, the brain processes information at a slow speed due to the slow movement of neurons. On the other hand, computer processing power is substantial due to rapid transistors.
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.
In conclusion, the most notable difference between the brain and the computer is that the brain functions on a number system by default, whereas the computer operates on a binary language, and the brain uses a heuristic approach to learn by experiences. On the other hand, computers learn the things which are residing in memory (distributive learning).