Re: of possible interest: interaction with autonomous agents

From: H C (
Date: Mon Jun 27 2005 - 22:09:10 MDT

Control isn't a valid measure of intelligence.

What is a valid measure of intelligence is optimization. Those that best
optimize their desires are truly the most intelligent.

For example... Those that make significant progress towards a safe
Singularity or towards molecular nanotechnology are the most intelligent,
because they are actually working to change their environment to optimally
satisfy their desires.

I'd speculate that lower organisms probably optimize their desires even
better than we do, but have simpler, more transient desires.

>From: Joel Peter William Pitt <>
>Subject: Re: of possible interest: interaction with autonomous agents
>Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 15:15:25 -1200
> > The degree to which an entity is able to establish control over its
> > environment is a signal characteristic of its level of intelligence.
> > Indeed, humans are the most intelligent of Earth's present species
> > as is indicated by the control that groups of humans are able to
> > exert over their surroundings. On this measure, of course, people
> > fail to show really exalted intelligence: were a person suddenly
> > teleported to the bottom of the ocean or into deep space, he or she
> > wouldn't last long. Not even that, but even under ideal conditions
> > humans are done for in less than a century.
>I think that the relative amounts of control exerted by organisms on
>their environments are probably less to do with intelligence and more
>to do with the desire to exert control. A bacterium is (assumedly)
>perfectly happy controlling the environment by turning substrates into
>waste products and asexually reproducing.
>Besides, I think as humans we have very little control. We know we
>have to make major changes to the way we are living if we are going to
>remain in existance over the next century, but can we do anything
>about it? We have as much control as a bacterium in a sea of other
>bacteria churning through resources.
>Also, if control was some indication of intelligence, then assumably
>the people in the most powerful positions would be the most
>intelligent? (And I *really* doubt this to be true).

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