Re: The engine of intelligence. (was, Loosemore's Collected Writings on SL4 - Part 6)

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Tue Aug 29 2006 - 18:15:25 MDT

Heartland wrote:
>> We know AI is possible because natural intelligence exists. So what
>> are the features of natural intelligence you would need to extract
>> and what can be replaced with something nature could not (or did not)
>> evolved like a rotating prop?
>> Keith Henson
> I'm always disappointed when important questions like this are being
> ignored, especially by those who claim to know the answer. It's a
> single most important question in AI, still, after 50 years from the
> birth of the field.
> What is intelligence, exactly? What functions are necessary and
> sufficient for creation of a thought? What is a mechanism of thought?
> Let me offer a car-human analogy which will hopefully make clear what
> kind of answers others and I are probably seeking here.
> The purpose of a car is to transport people to their desired
> destinations. If we strip down the car to its necessary and sufficient
> elements that serve its purpose we'll end up with the engine, all the
> machinery that transfers motion to wheels, and the single structure
> that houses all that plus the passengers. (A car stereo is not
> necessary nor sufficient to transport people so it must be left out :)).
> We could generalize the analogy and think about this in terms of means
> of transport, with a car, a bike, a motorcycle being just different
> implementations of the same idea, namely, that in order to change
> locations one needs "the engine", a mechanism that transfers motion to
> other parts of the machine and a structure that houses all the these
> parts and the passengers.
> Humans, like a car as an example of *a* thing that transports people,
> are just one of many possible implementation of intelligence. If
> someone wanted to build a machine whose purpose would be to have
> intelligence, what would its "engine", "the mechanism for transferring
> motion", and the "structure that houses all the parts of machine" be?
> Having established that, we could then apply this process down to each
> individual part of the machine in order to implement "the engine" of
> intelligence by focusing on its necessary and sufficient functions
> that serve its purpose.
> If anyone is capable of answering these questions with a necessarily
> high degree of confidence, please do offer your insight.
> H.
I am speaking from a philosophical perspective...

Well, I would say there are two things that define human minds --
ability to work out how to do difficult things, and self-consciousness.

The ability to work out how to do difficult things does seem to me to be
dependent on self-consciousness. I can imagine at least domain-specific
software which is able to overcome new challenges without being

I'm going to call the ability to work out how to do difficult things

In animals, self-consciousness seems to scale with intelligence. This
correlation seems very strong, so I posit a link.

I'm going to say that a thought is the consciousness of an element of
the processes of intelligence. In order to have a thought, one needs to
be conscious and intelligent.

I don't understand how to express this in terms of 'functions' because I
don't understand what you mean by the term. However, the relevant
concepts or necessary conditions I think are consciousness and
intelligence. They are probably also sufficient, but I haven't thought
it through. Memory is also probably required.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:57 MDT