Hi all. This is the second installment of my AI series! If you haven’t read AI: Intro, you should hit that up before reading any further. It will explain the direction I am going in exploring advanced AI with you guys.
Great, now that that’s out of the say. Lets get started 🙂 I wanna preface this post by saying that one of the biggest frustrations I have with the general research around artificial intelligence is the lack of emphasis placed on understanding human intelligence or general intelligence…. or even intelligence as a word used to describe a phenomena. I feel that its especially important to have clear understanding of what we are talking about when we say “intelligence”, so that we can then define the guidelines for artificial “intelligence”. Seems simple. But its not.
You see, we don’t actually really know what human intelligence really is. We have a sense, or many unorganized senses of what intelligence is, but there is no real set definition. Dictionary.com gives us the definition “
What is intelligence really? We have so many words to describe realities that overlap each other. Intelligence, understanding, cognitive, awareness… these are not all entirely the same, but they are used interchangeably in casual speech. For the sake of exploration, we are going to assume that these are all referring to the same objective reality. This is called a presupposition. We all have them. A presupposition is a base assumption that is made to justify your reasoning. Most of us never think of this, but we all have it… let me demonstrate how.
If I asked you why is the sky blue, you would answer with a scientific explanation. If I asked “why?” to your answer, you would probably give another scientific explanation. Now if I kept asking why to all of your answers, where would you end up? Your presupposition. You would end up at the basis of all of your reasoning. For example, you might end up saying “Because I think therefore I am” which is a common presupposition held by modern philosophers. Although I believe “I think therefore I am” is a dangerously circular reasoning, its slightly irrelevant to this exploration. Presuppositions are circular by nature. But the circularity should be justifiable within the reality that results from your presupposition.
But like I said, for the sake of this exploration, we are going to assume that intelligence is a word used to describe an objective reality. If you disagree that intelligence is objective then this exploration should in theory be irrelevant, but it should be really interesting nonetheless.
So what is it that intelligence is referring to in our objective human experience? Well, we are going to automatically rule out the acquisition of information. We can call that knowledge which is already achievable in computer science. Actually, this is all that computer science encompasses. Computers are memory machines. They store information in bits, and they process that information to perform operations and in some cases generate new information to store. The limitation of computing is that the computer doesn’t actually understand what it is doing. It just does it. You know, like a robot, because essentially this is what a computer is. Robot is a more romantic word for computer so you don’t get confused by terms here.
What makes humans distinct in this world is that we understand what our brain processes, and not just that. We have the ability to generate our own original information apart from sensory input. For example, we dream when we are sleeping, we imagine, we engineer, we write poetry, we sing songs, we make abstract art ect… All of these things require the ability to create things that have never been observed before. This is what intelligence really is. And as a side point, this is exactly what is wrong with how we think of intelligence here in the states in grade school. Intelligence is not memory. Its not about how well you do answering memorized questions on a state exam. Its about how much you understand information that is thrown your way. And its also about how well you can generate new information (creativity). That is real intelligence. And this is why so many people that have failed the grade school education go on to becoming world renown leaders and thinkers and creators in this country.
This is human intelligence. Human intelligence is understanding and creativity beautifully fused together. No where else have we ever seen something like this in any form whatsoever. The closest thing we’ve observed is apes who have a complex form of communication and use other objects to manipulate their enviornment. But there is no progression. Apes in the 1800’s were just as technologically advanced as apes today. There is something especially unique about the human intellectual prowess. Not to belittle wild life, which also is in a class of its own when it comes to intelligence, but just the reality as it pertains to humanity.
So if my telepathic connection is strong, you’re probably wondering how computers will ever match the capability of human intelligence. Given all that we’ve established about the human intelligence, how can a micro-chip achieve such a feat even to a slithering percentage? Well, that’s a fantastic question. And that is where we will continue the next installment of the AI series.
I too wrestle with the whether or not true AI is possible. I am leaning towards impossible, but I do however feel that augmented human intelligence is possible, and that’s where I will base the next post.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you are an awesome person. If you haven’t made it this far, then you’ve hacked this post by skimming it or scrolling all the way down lol and for that you are awesome as well!