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Computers are powerful, not smart.

By Arvind Pandey
Published in Life & Productivity
October 22, 2020
1 min read

Sometimes we are confused with power and smartness. Our subject is Computer vs Human. We mistakenly say computers are smart as they do the calculations quite fast. But the truth is that, computers are not smart. Rather, computers are powerful. Being smart and powerful are two different things. Computers are powerful because they have infinite memory, infinite processing power. Here infinite means, they are configurable and can be adjusted as requirement comes up.

Computers can compute it very fast because they have more processing power and more memory. On the other hand, humans are smart but not as powerful as computers. You can give a total new situation to a human, he will be able to make judgment but a computer might fail if the flow is not defined for a given new situation. We can argue that with the advent of machine learning they are coming closer to human intelligence but the fact is, as part of machine learning we are trying to provide a subset of the situations to the computer and training them on all those situations. Our machine is as intelligent as our training data. At any point we cannot say, our training data is perfect and now computers can replace humans. That’s far from the current situation.

What other facts that make computers powerful is their capability to store information for days, months or years. Same is not true for humans. Humans need to sleep to recharge for the next day, the same is not true for computers. Computers can work for days, months, and years without getting tired, but humans can’t do that. What we can think of computers as complementing humans. What are the things that we as humans can improve in us that can make us efficient - memory, processing power(brain), ability to work day in day out. That’s what we did with computers.


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