Oh I whole-heartedly agree that we have 'pre-programmed' so to speak responses that govern how we react to certain situations. But touching a hot surface, noticing that its burning your hand, automatically moving it away and learning not to touch it again or avoiding similar situations in the futures does not necessarily demonstrate intelligence. What would be intelligent would be being able to apply what you learned from your experience to something new. For example: You learn from touching that a stovetop is hot if it is on. You learn from touching that it is cold if it is off. You know from some past experience that heated food tastes better than food that isn’t heated. (Let’s say you once ate a chicken that was on fire and liked it.) Therefore putting food on a stovetop that is on will make the food taste better.
Another demonstration of intelligence would be if you asked WHY the stovetop burned your hand.
In response to the neural net post, I was thinking too. Indeed, you don’t need a computer program, just an electronic configuration that tries to reach a certain ‘goal’. I suppose it could be argued that people operate in much the same way, since the neural net is modeled on the human brain. We have certain goals that we try to attain, and I think there are thousands of individual ones that sort of group together to one ultimate goal which we aren’t aware of. Not that I have any proof of my claim, but I think humanity is striving for ‘something’ and we’re not sure what. But, looking at the individual, which now that I think about it reminds me a lot of The Sims game, we have to satisfy social needs, as well as basic survival needs and ‘intellectual’ needs. The thing is, unlike the robot described in one of the posts that searches for light to make it satisfied, we are never completely satisfied. Or, perhaps like in The Sims, we are for a short period but we need to continually re-satisfy these needs so over the years we have been evolving and creating things to make our re-satisfying more efficient.