What Can Computers Do Better Than Humans?

Computers are all around us and are used in almost everything we do, but ultimately humans have invented and made the computer what it is today. So how good actually are computers, and what can computers do better than humans?

  • Store Information
  • Make Calculations
  • Communicate
  • Look Up Facts
  • Work Continuously
  • Never Get Sick
  • No Need For A Pay Cheque
  • Don’t Need A Vacation

Think about it, you are a business owner, and you see this list of qualities and compare those to a human. Is it any wonder that they choose a computer first. But although it looks good at the first glance, is it actually the case? I’ve looked deeper into this, and below are my findings.

Store Information

Computers store information on things known as drives, you’ve probably heard some people talk of hard drives or solid-state drives. The hard drive has moving parts without getting too technical, whereas the solid-state drive does not.

As the hard drive has moving parts, it is more likely to get damaged. However, it is cheaper than the solid-state drive, which is why it is still used. The drive is similar to a drawer or cupboard that you put things in to keep them safe.

Both types of devices are very fragile, similar to the human brain. However, the human brain is covered in a thick skull to protect it. If you were to drop a hard drive on the floor from just waist height it would most probably be destroyed, but if you were to fall over, you’d be fine.

1 point for humans I think.

Make Calculations

We’ve been using calculators for some time, the first commercially produced mechanical calculator was invented in 1820 and was called the Arithmometer. You can read about the history of the calculator here, there is some fascinating information in there.

But making calculations isn’t actually that special as it is a pre-determined outcome in which calculators are programmed to do, and are programmed by humans.

‘But what about multiplying enormous numbers’ I hear you cry, ‘we couldn’t possibly do that without a calculator’. Well, I’d say you are wrong. Japanese children are taught to multiply massive numbers at a very early age, and you can be taught to do it in less than 5 minutes.

Check out this YouTube video. I was absolutely gobsmacked when I saw it and cursed my school for never teaching us this method.

1 – 0 to the humans for this subject.


This subject is cut and dry, computers are good at communicating, but only if they are networked together. This can either be a cable connecting the two together or over the internet because the internet is simply billions of computers all talking to each other.

Now let’s put this in the context of humans. We need to be in the same location as another human to talk to them, which would be similar to two computers being connected via a cable. Or we could communicate using telephones or video calls, this is similar to a computer network.

So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is a draw. Although computers are great communicators, in today’s modern world, they are useless on their own, very much like the human.

This is a draw

Look Up Facts

There is an old joke, where someone is selling an entire set of encyclopedias, and the reason is due to their partner knowing absolutely everything. This joke has now been revamped, the word encyclopedias have been changed for Google.

‘I no longer need to use Google, as my partner knows everything’.

In the blink of an eye, you can pretty much find out any information you want, and all this information is at your fingertips. It’s crazy to think that when I was a child and I needed to research anything, I had to walk all the way to the library, find the relevant books, and then read until I found what I was researching.

Kids don’t know how lucky they are, I am still dumbfounded by the sheer awesomeness of the internet. Yes, it can be a scary place if you don’t know about it, but there is so much good that comes from there too.

This is a big win for computers I’m afraid.

Work Continuously

We all know someone that is constantly on their feet, never taking a moment to rest, and they are always on the go, dashing here and there, it’s enough to make me dizzy.

This is the way I imagine a computer to be, constantly buzzing, doing things all the while. But are they?

Have you ever run an update on a computer or a cell phone? You always have to reboot the thing after it has been completed. And if like me, you write on the computer a lot or make spreadsheets of information, 9 times out of 10 it will freeze and crash on you when you are at a vital point. Aaaargh.

Then what, the best thing you can do is turn it off and on again, it’s so frustrating. So no, I do not accept that computers work continuously.

1 – nil humans.

Never Get Sick

I’m sure we can all agree that this is a total fallacy. I don’t know of one person, whether that be someone with a personal computer or a business owner with many, that hasn’t been affected in some way by a computer virus.

Sometimes the effects can be devastating, causing thousands if not millions of dollars worth of damage. There is a whole industry dedicated to stopping computer viruses, and it is never-ending. Where there are computers, there will be viruses.

Some viruses are so bad, that the entire system needs replacing. Compare that to a human, when we get a virus it’s a few days in bed, and then we are back at work.

Human are numero uno here.

No Need For A Pay Cheque

I had to really think about this one, and look into the fact of why we actually have a job in order to get paid, and it all boils down to needing to eat.

Some of us are lucky enough to have some disposable income that we use to treat ourselves, but all we really need is food, water, and shelter. If we were to still be hunter-gatherers, then we would build our shelter near a stream and then find our own food. No need for us to have a pay cheque either.

So let’s look at this logically, computers need food in the form of electricity, and shelter from the rain to prevent them from malfunctioning. So in a funny way, humans and computers are the same, and both do need a pay cheque.

Another draw I think.

Don’t Need A Vacation

Burnout, we all get it. You work too much, too many hours in a day, a week, a month, it all builds up and gets too much for you and you need to let off some steam.

Enter the vacation, whether that be visiting a far away land, or even a staycation, just the break from work repairs the body and mind. It has been scientifically proven that more breaks from a grueling work pattern are better for you than pushing through to get it done.

In Belgium, all workers have the right to work a 4-day-week, with no loss of pay. During trials, it was proven that productivity actually went up when working less, crazy.

Computers don’t get burnout, they don’t need any breaks, and they definitely don’t need a vacation.

Sorry folks, but this is a win for computers.

The Final Score

Now if I have worked this out correctly on my Arithmometer, humans win by 6 points and computers get only 4 points.

Computers are excellent tools and will stay in modern society for a very long time, but they are simply that, a tool. Without humans, a computer is very much redundant.

I like to use the analogy of a hammer. They are excellent at driving nails into wood, but without the human hand to guide the hammer the nail would go nowhere.