In an age where brain computer interfaces are becoming a reality, employee microchipping is being seriously discussed and technology magnates are warning the world of the potential of an AI takeover, questions have been raised regarding our ability to compete with machines. If this sounds like a generic plot for the next cyborg action blockbuster, you might not be entirely off base. That being said, the question continues to linger: what are the differences between our brain and a computer?
Whilst there are glaring differences, such as the ability of a computer to process binary in an entirely different manner to us, being able to handle a large amount of data and easily go through multiple complicated actions without breaking a sweat – there are some more subtle ones that paint an interesting comparison.
To start off, brains are analog whilst computers are digital. Likewise, the brain is a massively parallel machine and computers are modular and serial which means our brains are unable to process the amount of information or use short term memory in the same way. Within that same vein of thought, there are designations for the speed and capabilities of brains, whilst you can easily build up on a computer’s abilities.
There are a multitude of other interesting comparisons to make, but the bottom line usually comes down to the innate abilities that are unique to both subjects – and which makes AI naturally superior. The sheer task handling capabilities of AI outmatch anything we are able to humanly achieve, and are a large part of why many in the tech industry worry about the potential for AI to become sentient.
However, as Elon Musk explained in an interview about brain-computer interfaces, the melding of human and AI may not be that far-fetched. His product, a neural lace meant to improve brain function to compete with AI would involve surgery to implant a small electronic device into your jugular, but he manages to make an argument for it despite it seeming like an invasive and mind boggling procedure.
“We’re already a Cyborg – I mean, you have a digital or partial version of yourself in the form of your emails and your social media”
AI integration in everyday life has certainly not eased the worries of those weary of a takeover, especially after it has been shown how dependant we are on our electronics – in itself, this begs the question, are we in control of AI, or are they in control of us?