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Intelligence

  1. Mar 17, 2004 #1
    hey omni i saw yr quote n found it very interesting...
    It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
    Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - )

    very cool but having intelligence means u live longer n better isnt it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2004 #2
    Hi Evil,
    I would say that if "successful evolution" is defined simply as successfully passing on genes (that is, avoiding extinction), then a cockroach or a shark is arguably more "successful" than a human, in the sense that both species have been around (unchanged) far longer than we have.

    So from this perspective, high intelligence is simply one of many possible modus operandii that a species could use to ensure the survival of its gene lineage, but it's not necessarily required for evolutionary success. In evolutionary parlance, "fitness" can occur without intelligence.

    It's interesting that on the huge tree of life, made up of vast phylogenetic diversity that spans 3.5 billion years of evolution (each kingdom of plant, animal, bacteria, fungi, protista is subdivided into thousands of taxonomic subgroups), there is ONLY ONE leaf (off one single branch) that ever sprouted high intelligence -- and that only happened in the last hundred thousand years or so.

    Stephen Jay Gould once wrote that if the 3.5 billion-year-old timeline of life on Earth were the Eiffel Tower, then modern humans would represent the last coat of paint on the top of the tower's tip.

    So historically at least, Nature doesn't seem to view intelligence as the best way for a species to achieve evolutionary fitness.

    Having said all that, there's no question that high intelligence does give the ultimate evolutionary advantage: we can alter our environment to suit us, which removes the need for adaptation and selection.

    I think that Arthur C. Clarke's quote recognized this. He is saying that our intelligence (that is, our evolutionary success) could very well trigger a sixth mass extinction (due to overpopulation, massive and rapid environmental change, weapons of mass destruction, etc.). On geological timescales, this sudden occurrence of intelligence could then be viewed as a potential liability -- not just to us, but to the whole planet.

    Personally, I think (hope?) that our intelligence can also ultimately save us from ourselves...


    Best regards,
    metasystem
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2004
  4. Mar 17, 2004 #3
    Intelligence is a very subjective concept. Is intelligence nothing more than being conscious? Can a cockroach or a mouse have intelligence in performing its own functions?

    In 1950, a man by the name of Alan Turing, invented a test whose result could be used to determine whether, in any practical sense, a machine could be said to be conscious or intelligent. The test is quite simple. You enter a room and encounter two terminals: one terminal connects with a computer, and the other interfaces with a person who types responses. The goal of the test is for you to determine which terminal is connected with the computer. You are allowed to ask questions, make assertions, question feelings and motivations for as long as you wish. If you fail to determine which terminal is communicating with the computer or guess that the computer is the human, the computer has passed the test and can be said to be `conscious'.

    Is a person born with concrete thinking like a Down's Syndrome child intelligent?

     
  5. Mar 17, 2004 #4
    so wat was the outcome of the experiment?
     
  6. Mar 18, 2004 #5

    FZ+

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    Experiment? There was no experiment.

    What Turing did was to formulate consciousness and intelligence in a functionist fashion. (hypnagogue is no doubt foaming at the mouth by now) What Turing concluded was that we take the idea of other humans being intelligent for granted, based only on the evidence that they behave similarly to we do. Thus, if a machine was made to precisely mimic human responses, it would be indistinguishible from intelligent life - nay, it would be intelligent life, or else the concept of intelligence itself be useless.

    So Turing posed that as a challenge. And over time, competitions have cropped up, where volunteers grade chat bots (and human confederates) on how "human" they appear, and the winner is the one with the top score. No one has won the top prize, yet.

    Google for transcripts of these. They are often quite funny, and volunteer questioners can be very dumb...
     
  7. Mar 18, 2004 #6
    There is no doubt that people like hypnagogue feel that the Turing test in an inadequate (even down right absurd) test for intelligence and consciousness. The standard reply to Strong AI is that although computers can master syntax, they can never master semantics (google "Searle" and "Chinese Room" for an arguement supporting the proposition).
     
  8. Mar 20, 2004 #7
    Evil,
    homosapiens; 200,000 - 300,000 years
    crocodiles; 100,000,000 years +

    Living longer and better does not equate to survival. Flies live for less than a month yet they have been around for a lot longer than us and have adapted to many different environmental changes over time. I am pessamistic about our species surviving another 100,000 years unless we can direct our intelligence to nature rather than making money.
     
  9. Mar 20, 2004 #8
    Originally posted by Omni

    Evil,
    homosapiens; 200,000 - 300,000 years
    crocodiles; 100,000,000 years +

    Living longer and better does not equate to survival. Flies live for less than a month yet they have been around for a lot longer than us and have adapted to many different environmental changes over time. I am pessamistic about our species surviving another 100,000 years unless we can direct our intelligence to nature rather than making money.


    Are you suggesting that flies have directed their intelligence to nature rather than searching for food (<>money) since they have survived longer than human beings?

    I believe that it is not directing our attention to nature that will allow mankind to survive for another 100,000 years but more realistically the ability of homosapien intelligence altering their basic primitive aggressive drive and learning to live with each other in peace, ethics and morality.

    I am a bit more optimistic about the longevity of the human race.
     
  10. Mar 20, 2004 #9
    Originally posted by RageSk8

    There is no doubt that people like hypnagogue feel that the Turing test in an inadequate (even down right absurd) test for intelligence and consciousness. The standard reply to Strong AI is that although computers can master syntax, they can never master semantics (google "Searle" and "Chinese Room" for an arguement supporting the proposition).

    I love it when people use words like always, never or forever. Actually there is a company who has purportedly developed very complex analogs that can actually understand human semantics, nuances and even when a person is lying by minute changes in voice modulation and other factors.

    See the following site:

    http://www.nemesysco.com/technology.html

     
  11. Mar 21, 2004 #10
    Talus wrote: Are you suggesting that flies have directed their intelligence to nature rather than searching for food (<>money) since they have survived longer than human beings?


    Talus,
    No, I'm not suggesting that at all. I have not heard of flies using their food (<>money)to change the earths weather patterns, wipe out entire ecosystems, deplete natural resources, etc.
     
  12. Mar 21, 2004 #11
    talus,

    Read this

    Your example does nothing to attack Searle's argument. Oh, and by the way, I actually disagree with Searle and am only presenting his argument for intellectual diversity. The debate around AI is conceptual - it deals with the problem of defining consciousness. See this thread for its basic form: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6758
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2004
  13. Mar 21, 2004 #12
    Ahhh evolution doesnt have a goal or final destination where it hopes to arrive, evolution is just the purpetuation of life in whatever way shape or form that it possabily can...

    Intelligence is subjective, yes it has allowed us as a species to control the world that we live in but I think that we have been extreamly slow to catch on that we are also destroying this planet by treating it as our garbage can, by abusing it's natural resources...

    I wouldnt be suprised to find that we are the first species in the history of earth to wipe ourselves out..

    the greenys say save the planet, I think they really mean save our asses
     
  14. Mar 23, 2004 #13
    Yes Grim (apt name here), but not many are aware that every single measurable pollutant has been declining dramatically since the industrial revolution in parts/million and continues to drop (dramatically). This includes water purity as well. This is shocking to most people, but its that darned ole media again focusing only on anecdotes and the extreme exceptions which have created the opposite impression.

    Every species produces waste - we produce a LOT because there are a lot of us. But we're getting better and better at recycling, reducing, and reusing it with each passing year. Although there are very bad incidents from time to time and there are hot-spots that need attention, our world overall today is cleaner than it has been in the last 100 years.
     
  15. Mar 23, 2004 #14
    I think Clarke may have been refering to the fact that there is as yet no proof of the existence of consciousness or freewill or any measure of intelligence that is not completely arbitrary.
     
  16. Mar 23, 2004 #15

    selfAdjoint

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    I always thought that Clarke's comment was about H-bombs - certainly the result of our having intelligence. Before the fall of the USSR, many people believed the world was headed for nuclear conflagration, which would have showed intelligence to have a negative effect on survival.
     
  17. Mar 23, 2004 #16

    hypnagogue

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    Yes, I would say that the Turing test is inadequate (although I'm hardly frothing at the mouth over it ). But I also don't buy into Searle's refutation. I don't see any reason why a computer can't be conscious, in principle; the trouble is, if it is indeed possible, what conditions must be met for some kind of phenomenal consciousness to exist. We do not know what these conditions must be, and Searle merely exploits our ignorance here to put forth his argument (which should work just as well, in principle, to 'prove' that human brains cannot support consciousness-- that we should be zombies). Searle's Chinese Room does not prove or disprove anything about the existence of consciousness in physical systems, but rather is just another way of illuminating the existence of the epistemic limitations surrounding it-- eg, it is a roundabout way of illustrating the hard problem of consciousness.
     
  18. Mar 23, 2004 #17
    Ooops. I think you're probably right. I was making assumptions.
     
  19. Mar 23, 2004 #18
    Great stuff, I hadn't thought of that.

    I'd argue strongly that machine consciousness is impossible. However I haven't got a shred of evidence. It's just that every researcher who has written in favour of it has ended up talking nonsense IMHO. This isn't conclusive evidence but it's enough to sway me.

    What do you think of Penrose's notion that Goedel's theorems prove that there must be something outside of our system, which implies that this something can only enter the system from the outside and not be created on the inside?
     
  20. Mar 23, 2004 #19
    That is an interesting point. Really, I never thought of that reply, but it is absolutely right. Holists like me shouldn't be bothered by Searle's argument because, in effect, it can be used to attack the very conception of consciousness Searle defends. So, as you say, Searle merely emphasizes the hard problem of conscious (the one we reject anyways).
     
  21. Mar 23, 2004 #20
    Penrose is a crack IMHO. He is the one who claims quantum consciousness, that "some how" neural networks exploit quantum fluctuations.... I am sorry, but Penrose simply constructed a theoretical biology of neurons that has no scientific grounding to trump Turing (this is different than holists saying our conception of consciousness is flawed, we DON'T make up scientific facts, we just interpret the scientific facts differently).*


    *I only talk of scientific facts in the common, everyday way. I actually reject the fact/value and scheme/content dichotomies. To paraphrase Gould, a scientific fact is merely something you would be crazy not to believe (see? no metaphysical baggage).
     
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