Why are computers sometimes refered to as superhumans?

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boblawrence eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Computers have been compared to humans in many ways.  In terms of ability to store information and retrieve it on demand, computers can do so with blazing speed and accuracy compared to humans.  In this regard computers have been referred to as super-humans.

Compared to humans, computers are poor performers, however,  when it comes to analytical thought, analysis of complex concepts, recognition of subtleties in language, complex pattern recognition, and so forth.

As an example, a human is able to recognize a friend's face in an instant.  Computer facial recognition programs take seconds to minutes to do so...and not always accurately.  Similarly, humans can identify a friend or family member by such subtle things as their gait or posture, whereas it is doubtful a computer could be trained to do this.

Computers have no ability to experience or act on emotions…something that humans do every day.

The attribution of human qualities to computers, and endeavors to build computers with human abilities falls within the field of artificial intelligence (see reference).  Probably the most renowned and successful project in this field has been the creation by IBM of Watson, a supercomputer that can play the game “Jeopardy!”

Watson recently defeated the two most successful Jeopardy players, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.



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