Picture of the Day: 'The Machine Compared With a Human Brain'

By Rebecca J. Rosen

computerbrain.jpg

More from the wonderful cigarette-card collection at the New York Public Library: Today's pick is a card from Max Cigarettes from the mid 1930s called "The Machine Compared With a Human Brain" showing in one half a man surrounded by books and, in the other, a man operating a "differential analyser," an early-20th-century analog computing machine. An accompanying description explains:

Only the human brain is capable of originating a line of mathematical, analytical or synthetical though, but where the solution of an original problem requires the building up of a long series of figures, for example, the raising of a complex decimal to a higher power, this astounding machine is more efficient, for it can do in a few hours work requiring perhaps years of a man's time. But the machine has to be much larger, and here you see contrasted the human brain against a single section of the "Differential Analyser".

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:

Image: NYPL.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/picture-of-the-day-the-machine-compared-with-a-human-brain/255521/