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sciadvisor is offline
Aug9-10, 08:09 PM
P: 2
I saw this question

"5. How does the computational power of the human brain compare to today's fastest supercomputers? If the worlds fastest computers dwarf the human mind, then is it possible for there to be a super-AI that completely rivals all human thought and intellect? Alledgedly, the human brain is the most complex object in the known universe. (I don't know if that is true)."

I was recently discussing this question with some of my colleagues. See, there is a great misconception here. The human brain does not operate the same way as computers so the performance cannot be compared easily. Computers are great at doing repetitive tasks especially floating point arithmetic. That is what they excel at. Human brains are significantly more powerful than computers in many other areas. Even less intelligent animals such as dogs and cats are significantly more powerful than computers and supercomputers at many different tasks. For example, computers are at least 100 years away (assuming they ever get there) from processing reality and understanding dimensional space. When a human or even a dog walks into a room, you can make sense and understand all objects in the room, you can immediately recognize what the shortest path to a point in the room is and how to get there. You immediately know the shape, the color, the texture of objects, etc. If, say, a table was missing a leg, you would know for a fact that is a table that is missing one leg. You know this information almost instantly. A modern supercomputer would require hours to recognize these patterns and process them to figure out what objects these are. There is simply no comparison between a computer and a human here. Another example is, say, your friend is singing a song out of tune but he has almost all the lyrics correct. If you know the song and you have heard it before, you can immediately tell the artist and the title of the song. You can even correct your friend so that he sings in the right tune. This would be an almost impossible task for a modern computer to accomplish within a reasonable time. Again, computers are great at many things but their power and capability cannot be compared to the power of the human brain. In the future, perhaps. However, there is a school of thought that claims that there is an non-computable aspect to the human brain. As such, no computer will ever be comparable. Of course, this is open for debate and AI research is divided into the schools of thought.

As far as the human brain being the most complex object in the known universe, there is no way to be sure of that now. There might be ET civilizations out there whose minds are much more complex and capable of so much more. Our civilization is still in its infancy and our understanding is still very limited. But we are learning...