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Are Algorithms Smarter Than Humans?


Human intelligence is being crowned every day with every little development in technology. Algorithms are one such product of human intelligence which is the heart of our computers, mobile devices, Internet and so on. We are hearing about how algorithms are going to replace humans and how our own creation has become a threat to us.

So the question which arises here is, are algorithms smarter than humans? Let’s see…

They may be smarter than humans…

There are certain activities which algorithms can surely do better than humans. Devices like mobile phones, laptops etc. make use of it for complex calculations, data processing, and automated reasoning. Some of these are impossible for us to do. Whenever you type something on Google, you get the information you need with perks of additional information. Netflix, YouTube, Facebook feed all recommend you to watch something because the algorithms involved in this are built in such a way to show you what you should watch.

…But don’t have a sense of judgment

However, algorithms function purely on coding and mathematical patterns. They cannot be completely trusted to always make a right decision. For algorithms, it’s like black or white and yes or no, there are no opinions or grey areas.

And, that’s where a human steps in. Algorithms produce needs to be analyzed by humans, a quality which the former lacks. Humans function on their ability to think creatively, make decisions, use common sense and learn from experience. Whereas algorithms will only do what they are programmed to do whereas human beings experience something new every day and will make decisions based on their updated thinking of the world.

They definitely work faster than humans…

Algorithms can work with the same speed again and again, without getting bored, mad or distracted and will generate the output at the same time period. Whereas, humans get distracted and exhausted after doing tasks which are repetitive. Our tech devices are made of microprocessors that are designed to do work faster and better. For example, if you’re playing a game with a computer as your opponent, the moves and problem-solving skills of the computer will be faster than that of yours.

Algorithms are not affected by any cloud of emotions or feelings which is a bingo point for them. This helps them work faster and better than humans.

…But speed is not equal to intelligence

However, as per studies, a human brain can process far more information than the fastest computers. In fact, no computer codes can work efficiently without humans telling them what to do. Ideally, every software we use, from browsing on the web to the trending topics on social media, is coded by a programmer.

They are unbiased, unlike humans…

One plus point with algorithmic judgment is that it will be unbiased in its judgment. Since they can’t detect any emotions and feelings, they will show results based on what its program says. That the reason why the trending topics in Facebook, which was initially handled by humans was changed to Algorithms. This move was largely so that they could eliminate the human bias and enslavement.

…But, they do exactly what humans program them to do.

This is where one needs to be concerned. Algorithms can’t create their own sets of judgmental values or program themselves, that’s a human’s job. So naturally, an algorithm’s bias will be based on the bias of the humans who programmed it. For example, if an article is trending on Facebook, it’s because of the algorithms which are programmed to identify the article with the most clicks to be labeled as trending.

Also read, how Facebook’s algorithms are limiting what you see online.

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