Artificial Intelligence 3: What is Intelligence

In order to properly understand even what we’re talking about when we talk about artificial intelligence,  we need to know, in the first place, what the terms mean. If we don’t, we run a very real risk of having the conversation co-opted by forces working against us. A pre-21st century definition of intelligence, might be the lead one from Wikipedia:

Intelligence [Source.] has been defined in many different ways including as one’s capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, and problem solving.  Like this, perhaps:

That’s fun, because it is also a capacity of intelligent creatures to be illogical, obtuse, self-unaware, forgetful, emotionally numb, unreasonable, unplanned, wooden, and problem-making. In other words, the classical definition of intelligence is a value judgement: one has more or less of it, and humans (lets say, but also dogs and chimpanzees) are sorted according to whether their intelligence reaches a certain level of intensity; it is those individuals who are said to define the human (or canine or simian) species as “intelligent” or “instinctual”. Using that intelligence, they make all manner of thing, including this:

You can buy these babies used for something like $16,000, which is pretty cheap for replacing a worker or two at minimum wage. But is that intelligent? What, though, if intelligence was something else? Like this:

Well, looking more deeply into the classical definitions of intelligence, there’s more clarity. Have a look see:

It [Intelligence: [Source.]] can be more generally described as the ability or inclination to perceive or deduce information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context.

Ya, that’s better. It leads to this social intelligence,

and this social intelligence

and this social intelligence:

The last is a deer trail, which has received information from the feet of deer and Harold, plus a few coyotes in between, used the sun to melt it into a visible path, which retains its information and then directs Harold, deer and the coyotes to continue to follow it; in this way open pathways through the grassland hill are tilled, seeded and fertilized by deer, fertilized by coyotes, and will soon fill in, pushing the deer, Harold and the coyotes to the side over time. That’s a passive intelligence, but it meets all the criteria. It is also the primary form of intelligence on the planet. In fact, it would be fair to say that this is intelligence, and this, above the hill from it..


… is artificial intelligence, as is this: 


So, let’s say that the first is environmental intelligence, like this…

… and the second is a very specific kind of environmental intelligence, the environment of human social dynamics and power, like this…


There are many more, but this is an important one:

Not only is that a series of images of repetitive patterns, embodying the patterns of intelligence as defined above, but their existence as photographs becomes a depository of intelligence, much like the memory that created the deer trail. By looking at the image, you have already followed their path, and the series retains that ability to guide thinking. This series is, in other words, a small example of artificial intelligence, which brings me to my observation on artificial intelligence for the day: we are duped if we allow statements about the independent artificial intelligence of AI machines to distract us from the context of those images. It is the patterns that are the intelligence. The rest is artifice, but scarcely intelligent.

Doe busted while smashing my pepper plants to bits, mmmm.




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