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Semester Project: Computers and Humans Essay Sample

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Semester Project: Computers and Humans Essay Sample

Computers were first invented to be a complement added to our lives, making tasks for certain jobs or every day activities a little bit easier. When Charles Babbage invented his Analytical Engine in 1837, it only contained basic flow control and integrated memory, pretty standard stuff for a computer nowadays. This programmable computer opened the door for a side of technology we have only just barely touched yet.

In order to replace human senses, computers need input devices for perception and data entry. As we all know, computers are very capable of using the sense of touch and sight. In fact, they are used in your everyday life and you may not even realize it.

For example, most new cars nowadays have sensors that detect oncoming traffic approaching your blind spot. That data is inputted to detect an oncoming car is a computer using our sense of sight, all whilst your foot is still on the gas about to run over your neighbors bicycle.

What’s missing is the computer utilization of our sense of hearing, smell, taste, which IBM predicts will be able to be accomplished within the next couple years. “Smell and taste are two senses that have a clear chemical base. If computers can sense the types of molecules — ammonia, explosive residue or gasses that indicate decay — they could alert users to different markers that would flag security risks or food-borne illnesses.

The same is true of taste, he said, if computers could be programmed to recognize the correct proportions of certain chemicals.” (Bernie Meyerson, IBM VP of innovation). Although that technology has not been developed yet, it is well on its way to becoming a reality for our generation.

A huge accomplishment in my opinion is todays video gaming. Say you’re playing a first person shooter game and an oil barrel was to explode next to you, computers pick up on that and produce signals that reflects the gameplay, so you would receive a strong vibration in the controller to signify the shockwave from the explosion.

The human brain is one of the most amazing wonders this world has to offer. There is no limit to what we can learn, store, and process. We have the ability to store and process an incredible amount of information, much like a computer. Research has shown that human brain capacity is limited and can therefore be measured.

Paul Reber, a psychologist professor at Northwestern University was asked what the memory capacity of the human brain was. He replied, “The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem.

You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive. Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes”.

2.5 petabytes is an immense amount of data. Reber goes on to explain that 2.5 petabytes is the equivalent of holding on to 3 million hours of television shows. As of right now, modern technology is no where near capable of holding that much data, but in a few years, that could soon be a tangible feat. Processing units are essentially the brains of the computer.

They carry out certain instructions specified by the operator. A huge achievement in my mind is the speed at which technology operates at. Computers are not only fast, but they’re only getting faster with each coming day. Take a look at your phone for example.

It’s smaller than the size of your hand and processes data at an incredible speed. In order to replace the human nervous system and be able to perform, computer need software. The human nervous system responds to stimuli almost immediately depending on the person and situation.

Software for a computer is created to tell the computer what to do. In a way, the 2 are very similar. When a person writes software for a computer, the end result is the computer performing whatever action the user implemented in the software. So in way, software is similar to a nervous system in terms of responding to a certain stimulus. The limit for software is endless, the user just has to create the coding for it.

Unlike humans, computers can’t show emotion, pain, or other feelings that we do, but computers still respond to stimulus in the same manner. Computer software is some pretty powerful stuff. You can essentially tell a computer to do anything you want it to. The only real thing missing is that computers can’t feel emotion, love, and other feelings that are unique to us and they never will.

Computers can mimic those feelings, but never truly feel them. A spiderlike robot, funded by DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is a huge achievement. This ‘Snake Monster’ robot does not look like a snake, but more like an insect for the fact that it has 6 legs.

“When the robot goes over bumpy terrain, the springs in the series elastic actuators allow us to not perfectly plan the footsteps, but rather let the robot automatically conform to the environment the way animals do.” (Howie Choset, the robot’s inventor). It’s inventions like these that lead the way for future innovation.

Computers are no strangers to output devices. An output device is any device that is used to send data from a computer to another user. Speakers, headphones, and monitors are just a few examples, but there are many more. In order to replace our hands and feet, computers need output devices. Computers lack hands and feet, but output devices can become a substitute.

Fully robotic arms and feet have not been developed just yet, but the technology is coming very close.There are robots that are used by the US military to defuse bombs to reduce the risk of human casualty. These robots have arm like extremities equipped with scissors to cut wires to defuse the bomb.

They are controlled by humans now, but in 10 years, they could be controlling themselves without the need for human operation. These robots are a huge accomplishment. The robot comes in, either disables or blows the bomb up, all while our troops are safely protected in a bunker. They have saved the lived of hundreds, if not thousands of soldiers overseas.

As stated before, computers and humans both have limited storage space. But, there are devices made for computers called USB drives that can hold quite a bit of data. You can buy 300 of them and hold whatever your heart pleases on them. Who needs 300 USB drives?

Probably nobody, but the fact that you can store information on an external drive is very handy. There really is not anything missing when it comes to computer storage devices because they have already been created, but that does not mean that they can not be improved and perfected. Storage space on an external drive can is limited to an X number of gigabytes. Maybe someday there will be no more limitations to storage space.

Computers communicate with each other every second of every day. The “electric community” that they need to form has already been formed since January 1, 1983. The invention of the internet will always be one of the greatest inventions of all time.

Thanks to the internet, people with access to a computer can communicate with each other on different sides of the globe. Not only can people email, but they can now see each other’s’ faces using built in cameras that computers have. This electronic society is probably the most widely used system in the world. Everyone uses the internet at least once a day in their everyday life. Networking is a huge job market in today’s society because everyone is connected to the internet in some way or another.

I do not think a computer can ever completely replace a human. We as humans are the superior race on this planet for a reason. Technology is advanced and will only continue to get more advanced, but will never come close to replacing a human. Computers can not feel nor can they act on their own (yet). I found this project very interesting. I learned some new things about computers that I had not known before, such as the size of the largest external USB. Technology has always intrigued me so this project was very interesting and fun for me.

Computers Humans

Sensory Devices not yet able to pick up on smell and taste able to use all 5 senses Storing and Processing Data Processes data at a speed that depends on the processor, storage also depends on the size of the hard drive process information immediately, but storage is limited Nervous System/Software response to stimuli (similar to humans) depends on software written for the computer Able to respond to all stimuli Output Devices full use robotic limbs being developed Arms, hands, legs, and feet Storage Devices USB drives and other external storage Brain Networking internet, connects all people wirelessly have to access a computer with internet to be able to communicate over a distance.


Reber, P. (2010, May 1). What Is the Memory Capacity of the Human Brain … Retrieved October 21, 2016, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-memory-capacity/
Spice, B. (2015, January 12). Carnegie Mellon’s Six-legged “Snake Monster” Is First of … Retrieved October 21, 2016, from https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2015/january/reconfigurable-modular-robots.html
Tsukayama, H. (2012, December 17).

Computers will taste, smell and hear within five years … Retrieved October 21, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/computers-will-taste-smell-and-hear-within-five-years-ibm-predicts/2012/12/17/7b8c0c44-4858-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html

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