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Some Attributes Comparing Man vs. Machine

Updated on March 28, 2017
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.


Ever since the dawn of the computer age, man has been trying to imitate and surpass the human model. They try by building machines like computers and robots to imitate the human form and our capabilities. They have had some successes in building computers thst can compute faster and with more accuracy than humans. They have build machines that can survive in harsh environments. They have build robots that can do repetitive tasks easier and cheaper and faster...

- Mar. 2017

Some Attributes...

  • Reproduce
  • Repair
  • Immunity
  • Growth
  • Improve
  • Adapt
  • Sustainability
  • Endurance
  • Efficiency
  • Uniqueness
  • Cognition

Comparison Using a Rating System

In assessing anything, we would like to assign a scale from highest to lowest. This will allow us to see the value and the range. Since we humans are here first, we are the gold standard. In each of the attributes, assume a scale of 0-10. 10 being what humans can do. Of course, it is possible for machines to surpass humans in any particular trait and their for the assessment value can go above 10. All this rating is of course subjective and may change over time.


If human reproduction mechanism is rated at 10, what is current machine capability in 2017? As far as I know, no machines have been able to replicate itself. There are computer software that can silmulate life reproduction cycles. I will give Machine a 1 even though should actually be 0.


Humans can repair itself to some extent, for example, a cut on our skin will heal itself. If we lost a limb, we can't grow another. Machines have not evolved this far. Any damage to a machine needs some external human intervention to repair. That is not to say it couldn't be done. It is conceivable that some future development could come up with a material that is indestructible and therefore will not require repair. Machine: 0.


Humans have an immune system that is designed to prevent attacks from outside organisms such as bateria or virus. It is not 100% effective but we have come up with additional supplements like vaccine shots to counter certain diseases. Machines are also prone to attacks such as computer virus in the software. These are also not 100% but can be constantly improved. Machine: 8.


Humans are designed to have some limited growth capability. Both in physical size and in mental capacity of knowledge and memory. Machines are designed to have a fixed size and possible software upgrades. Machine: 5.


Humans are capable of evolution. With each generation, a new better and improved model is possible due to genetic mutations. It is time consuming since evolution happens very slowly. Machines though can't reproduce at the moment can improve with newer models. These improvements happen much more timely with each new model. Machines: 15.


Humans are very adaptable. We can adjust to many environment conditions. We can also modify our behavior depending on circumstance. We can think and learn. Machines are just beginning to reach a stage where they can "learn" to some extent. Providing a huge amount of data, a machine can be programmed to look for patterns and thus learn what attributes are significant. Machine: 2.


Humans work by ingesting food and water and convert them into energy. These energy are stored as fats in our body. We can sustain ourselves for days without food for survival. Machines also run on energy. These energy, usually electrical, are created externally and stored in batteries. The batteries may be rechargeable and can only last as long as it's capacity. There is a tradeoff of capacity and weight. Machine: 3.


Humans has the ability to endure long periods of work or awakeness. Eventually, we will require sleep and rest to regenerate or bodies and our brain. Typically, we need 8 hours of rest in a 24 hour period. Machines on the other hand can run indefinitely. As long as it has power, it will run. Machine: 20.


Efficiency is a measurement of how much energy is required to perform some task. Humans are very efficient in its allocation and use of energy. Our brain for example require very little energy and yet can process a lot of information in real time. Machines today have not come close to the power of our brain. It takes a room of parallel computers to compete with a human chess master. The electrical power to run these machines are huge in comparson. Machine: 3.


We humans are unique down to our finger prints. Each person on earth is an individual. The advantage of this trait is that we can have infinity possibilities of life, of events, of creativity and of progeny. Machines do not have that. It is designed and manufactured to a specification and then programmed to perform a set of instructions. One machine is identical to another of the same model. Machine: 0.


Human trait of cognition is what makes us unique from the rest of the animal world. So far, no machine has come close to this trait. Machine: 0.


By my unscientific estimation in 2017, Man has 110 vs. Machine has 57.

© 2017 Jack Lee


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