In a coming and not too distant future the time might come for you to fight the machine. Surely, you will need to rely on machines – but it is even more important for you to be able to rely on your very self. And to this end, you need to know in which area you could be better than the machines.
Extraordinary speed of the human brain
The ‘computational’ capacity of an average human brain is 38 thousand trillion operations per second, and the world’s most powerful supercomputer is able do only 0.002% of that. Human brain has 100 billion neurons and each neurons fires about 200 times per second – making it an equivalent to 100 billion computers running at 200Hz or one billion computers running at 20.000Hz.
Acquiring knowledge and understanding (cognition)
‘Knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ are two things machines can’t be related to. They could store and collate information and could make decisions within a given margin of error, but machines will always treat the dataset that is available to it as the complete ‘knowledge’. If you deduct or add data to their dataset, it will be treated as the exact knowledge. Humans however are able to know that a certain knowledge is incomplete. Understanding things also isn’t the domain of a machine, because machines have no understanding, just an algorithm about how to come to conclusions.
The two most human aspects of knowledge are evaluation and reasoning.
Emotions are purely human, but certain aspects are modelled and can be analysed by the computers, using statistical data of affective neuroscience researches. What is certainly personal enough to remain out of the reach by computers are the feelings of pleasure or displeasure. The reason why it is not easy to train machines to assess pleasure is that it is a broad class of mental states that humans experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. Happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria are not for machines 🙂
While the exact nature of the mind is debated, it is broadly associated with very much exact phenomenons like thoughts, consciousness,imagination, recognition, and appreciation – both of which are unintelligible to machines. For what practical uses there are of these human characteristics could be a topic of endless academic talks, but for us it is enough that it falls well beyond the perceptional abilities of recent and future machines.