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The Need for Speed

Indian supercomputer Eka (meaning one in sanskrit) built by the Pune’s Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) of the Tata Group is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world! Great going! The top two fastest ones are from US and the third one is from New Mexico.

Then, read a news report which said that MDGRAPE-3, a new super computer from Japan had crossed the peta flop barrier in terms of processing speed. Peta flop is a thousand trillion (or one quadrillion) calculations per second!

And again people have started saying that super computers powered by Artificial Intelligence will soon over take Human Intelligence. For me it looks like a big joke

Not because I think that Artificial Intelligence is impossible, but because it is definitely NOT possible in its current form and direction. Let me explain how.

The very fact that makes human intelligence stand apart from artificial intelligence is that, while Artificial Intelligence relies on the massive raw processing power of computer processors to perform trillions of calculations (now quadrillions!) per second, intelligence of human brain on the other hand is purely based on its ability to eliminate the very need for such a huge processing power!!

The real difference between human brain and computers is NOT speed. The real difference is in terms of logic creation and creativity. It is the ability of the human brain to create, compile and execute complex logic on the fly which no computer software can do

The ability to think contextually, to identify patterns instantly, to compose music, to formulate relativity and quantum mechanics, to paint with a great deal of imagination, to have a sense of humor, to think about creating artificial intelligence , etc is the unique domain of human brain!

We take care to calculate each step when we are learning how to walk as a baby. Today, as grown ups none of us do any conscious calculations about each step when we walk or run !! Its all instinctive! We concentrated a lot on driving when we initially were trying to learn how to ride a bicycle, once we get a hold of it, we can even think about other things while riding a bicycle! A computer program on the other hand HAS TO repeat the same calculations every time no matter how many million times it has already done it earlier! So there are two things here for human brains, one is the brain itself to do calculations and other is our mind/consciousness/awareness as we call it. Computers lack consciousness!

Next, when I speak to a person who knows Kannada, English and Hindi, and if I frame a meaningful sentence containing the words from all these three languages, the other person’s brain will be immediately able to recognize the meaning! We all are used to this kind of interaction in India. How can one get this logic into a software? Switching back and forth between contexts is another unique ability of human brains.

The vrey fcat taht you can raed tihs snenecte woiuhtut any gaert dfiftcluy porevs taht hamun bairn is far mroe spuireor tahn cmotupres bcuaese it deos not porcess a snenecte aplhbaet by alhpbaet, weahers a cmotuper porrgam wluod cneodisr tihs smae jmluebd snenecte as cmotelpe nsnesnoe!

Suppose you are drinking tea and at the same time trying to solve a mathematical puzzle. Look at the beauty with which your brain does parallel tasks. You will be sipping tea and at the same time thinking about the puzzle. This is true parallel processing of two threads, unlike in a single processor computer where threads are an illusion based on time slicing! The brain has a true multiprocessor architecture!

Even as I am typing this article, I am thinking and typing at the same time, and listening to music as well, sipping a cup of tea in between!

When I am reading a book, I also usually have some nice music playing in the background, and at the same time may also be having my morning breakfast!! Look how intelligently the brain manages all these tasks in parallel effortlessly! Brain will be understanding the book, at the same time enjoying the taste of the food and at the same time also enjoying the music!! What an intelligent brain, I mean not just my brain, all human brains in general

Also, look at the beauty of context switching ability. Suppose you are trying to solve a puzzle and in the mean time you receive a call from your friend, you talk to the friend for about 5 minutes about which movie is nice, how is life, etc and then once the call is over, you come back to the puzzle and start thinking from where you had left!! Look at the details here. The beauty with which the thread of puzzle solving is suspended in the brain, with the current state being serialized and stored, and a new thread created for the phone call and executed, and once that thread is completed, the brain restores back the puzzle solving thread along with its latest state deserialized!!!

Intelligent Brain

On the other hand, all that the computer processor’s speed, in terms of increased number of calculations per second can do, is to add scope to make more number of calculations within the same time, which a human brain would never be required to do for the same problem!! Let me explain how.

Consider IBM’s chess playing super computer Deep Blue vs Chess world champion Gary Kasparov. Both have defeated each other and hence have also lost to each other. But the question here is who really calculated more and who really used intelligence more. Both are NOT same. If you are more intelligent then you need very less calculations, because intelligence is also about eliminating unwanted calculations!

If a computer needs more processing power to become more intelligent, humans on the other hand becomes more intelligent by updating their ability to create logic on the fly which is even more sophisticated, and so eliminates even more unwanted calculations!!

A simple statistics would say who was really intelligent here, Deep Blue or Kasparov?
It undoubtedly is the human version of intelligence, Kasparov. How?

Deep Blue does 200 million calculations per second before making a move!
Kasparov? His number of calculations does not even come anywhere near this figure. He uses his sheer human intelligence to eliminate all unwanted calculations and does his move. Kasparov did not do 200 million calculations per second! Artificial Intelligence is more about calculations based intelligence, Human intelligence is more about pattern based logic based intelligence.

So the basic difference between Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence is NOT speed. Instead, it is the ability of the Human Intelligence to eliminate this very Need for Speed

Machine has no brain

In terms of processing power

Now coming back to figures of brain in terms of mere calculations like a computer processor.

An average human has about 100 billion neurons, and each of these neurons connected to about 1000 other neurons.
So, Human brain has the ability to do about 100 trillion to 10 quadrillion instructions per second!!!

See how little we make use of our brain power every day!!!! And that is because, most of the time the sophisticated creative intelligence of the brain eliminates the need for this great amount of processing power! In other words, the intelligence of human brain is like a software process which for 99.9% of the time requires only 10 instructions per second to be processed, and yet this software runs on a hardware processor which can process 100 trillion calculations per second!

Now, combined with the unique ability to be creative and eliminate unwanted calculations, and with this huge amount of raw processing power, if a human really uses his brain with 100% efficiency, can any supercomputer in the world ever pose a challenge to human intelligence?

Moreover, the super computers, the more powerful they are becoming, the more customized and specialized they are. For instance, MDGrape-3 is so customized that it will probably not be recognized officially as the fastest super computer today because it cannot run even the actual software that is used to officially calculate the supercomputer’s speed!! Human Brain on the other hand, can beat super computers without ever having to customize the human being by eliminating its other activities!

Now wonder, the ultimate winner in Matrix was a human

Einstein said that, even though the world is so complicated, The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible , and I say that the universe is comprehensible all because our brain is so intelligent to understand its own creational secrets and even try to simulate it!

Finally its the same Brain’s creative intelligence that is also trying to create something more intelligent than itself in the form of Artificial Intelligence! Probably the day Human Brain completely comprehends its own functioning, it will then create a true artificial intelligence which will nothing but an artificial clone of the human brain itself! Will that be Minus consciousness/awareness ???

So, to conclude, Artificial Intelligence will probably match the human’s natural intelligence when a software program running on a 2 GHz processor is able to beat Kasparov in a Chess game

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Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.


  1. Small correction:
    “”Indian supercomputer Eka (meaning one in sanskrit) built by the Pune?s Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) of the Tata Group is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world! Great going! The top two fastest ones are from US and the third one is from New Mexico.””—

    “”New Mexico”” is one of the 50 US states. All three fastest computers are in US.

  2. Dear GuruJi,

    There is one area where a robot can have an upper hand, and with disasterous consequences.
    A robot can track and out run a human target any where between 3-10 times faster. Taking unwilling slaves and keep them in captivity etc.
    Unless ofcourse if we can train masses to know in vedantin sense that they are not the body but all pervading atman itself.
    ‘Mrutyorma Amrutam Gamay””

  3. thats nice suchin.. there are many live examples of more than one researchers discovering the same thing almost at the same time independently.. without the other knowing about it..

    its not surprising given the fact that most of us have the same kind of knowledge (or the current science of our times as we know it) gained from education, and there are possibilities for human brains to think on similar lines since the input knowledge is similar!

    For instance, since all of us today know about dark matter and string theory, it is very much possible that more than one person thinks in the same way or gets the same idea about trying to answer dark matter using string theory!

    Its like after seeing a particular movie, many people getting similar kind of dreams, because the input information to the brain’s processing during sleep is the same movie!

  4. surprisingly, some years ago i had put down my own thoughts about this same topic somewhere in my computer. i dont remember if i ever wrote on some forum like this. but while reading through this above article of yours, at some point i felt i was reading my own words that i had written couple of years ago. no no i dont say you put my words here, but wondering again about the thoughts we all would be sharing without our knowledge about it being transmitted and recieved by just anyone and anywhere on earth. believe me its true. it works for me many times. i might be receiving someone else’s thought and would never know its from somewhere else, but i rather would imagine its my own thought. this really happens when you are in a certain state of mind. to my understanding when you are exactly between subconsciousness and total consciousness you tend to be both a transmitter and a receiver of all human mind transmissions. gurudev i really want your thought on this. i know you would have experimented something like this.

  5. Hi Gurudev, Rarely I have see such a person who combines the science and spritualism. Science is not different from spritualism. It is rather subset of the spritualism.

    I salute you man.. Keep up the good work and soon I will be eating up your research work hehehe.

    Great Job..

  6. yes kuldip, quantum computing is a real possibility of simulating intelligence to a large extent..
    some day in the future if we also include the aspect of quantum consciousness in this, then it might as well be another form of natural intelligence!

  7. I think human brains as you are praising for must be genius enough to create or discover something which can be prettier then itself. If it could not then there must exist more efficient thing in this world which can have ability to create better things from itself.
    As greater mathematician Roger Penrose proved that we cant find out algorithms for Axioms which shows excellence of brain over computers has some flaws.
    Sooner or later we will discover algorithms for them as well else we will made quantum computers which can behave insanly and in insanity they will discover wrapped truths in universe(Which i believe how axioms orginated.)

  8. Pranaam Gurudev ,
    Nah ! My blog is nothing compared to yours . I was reading your post titled “”Aline twist to God – Part 2 “” , and like the last scene of a thriller TV-Series , you didn’t explain the meaning of the second line of the shloka praising Lord Ganesha . [:)] So where do I read about the next line . And it was amazing .


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