Other Question #970

pete gold, a 40 year old male from manchester asks on October 15, 2002,

If the average human were a PC computer, what would the specification be? (processor speed, memory, etc)

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on October 22, 2002

There is no comparison. The human brain has been called the most complex construct in the known universe consisting of billions of electrical connections, and billions of chemical processes. Considering the brain's ability to construct consciousness, emotion, conversation, sensation, imagery, dreams, and intuition--all things that no computer can do (except perhaps as a trick or joke)--the brain is capable of processes and abilities far beyond any computer imaginable. Just to give you an idea of how far ahead of any sort of computing machine the human brain is, consider the computer that first beat a human chess master--deep blue. This was a machine made for one single purpose: chess. It didn't have to keep a heart beating, or keep a body healthy, or love a friend. It only had to win at chess. To do that, it required 64 super high powered IBM custom-made chess-playing computers — one for each square of the board — it could examine 200 million moves per sec. And it just barely beat a human chess master. After the game, the computer could not do anything else. The human probably went out for a meal, and a heated conversation about the nuances of the game.

It would be impossible to give the kind of specifications you request because biological systems use different rules and are much more flexible than silicon and printed circuits. There are subtleties and complexities within complexities far beyond anything accomplished so far with a computing machine or mechanical memory systems. In fact we have little more than a vague understanding of how human memory works, so there is no way to estimate it in units as crude as megabytes.

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