So.. we, human are intelligent beings. Life ,in general; here I am talking about all forms of life, not just human beings but all living beings, seems to be a race for acquiring more intelligence to solve the existing problems, improve the way of living and to infer and predict the future using the accumulated intelligence of present and past. Think about a typical day of yours. You wake up, shit, eat, think, plan, work, eat, shit, work, think, plan, play, mate, sleep, wake up… Now every human may have some uniqueness in how they organize or re-orient these behaviors along with the plethora of common behaviors. And definitely these small changes, re-orientation or orders of behaviors make you different than me, make each one of us, in fact, unique, make a chimpanzee different than you even though chimpanzees share 96% of your DNA. However, I am trying to focus on the general common behaviors here to later mention the importance of intelligence. Think about a day from ancient time, may be just imagine that you were the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten from the 18th dynasty who ruled for 17 years and is especially noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism. Now you are reborn in this age. Now how different was your regular day then from now? Weren’t you going through the same cycle of daily events? And if you carefully look, lots animals also have the same behaviors, in a broad sense, except the important two behaviors – think and plan. So, thinking and planning are the keys. When a child is born in this world, it already has its innate human abilities, but then it needs to learn; it needs to learn to stand up, walk, talk, interact using all the senses. Learning can be challenging. The rate you learn is important, the way you learn is important, the desire to learn is important. What you learn from your surroundings is what defines you ultimately. In a way, it’s the matter of experiencing what’s happening outside you, acquiring knowledge about how physics, chemistry work, what is dangerous versus what is not, understanding your physical limitations, storing all the knowledge and being able to use them when necessary. Now how efficiently you can use the knowledge you gained gives a good measure of your intelligence. Sometimes just having enough information can give you an edge over others. Like, when you are pursuing a career.. Let’s say you are a doctor; that means you have more information about how human body works, how to treat certain abnormalities of human body which are known to be treatable, let’s say you are a physicist; you try to gain all the rules of the physical world and try to understand physical events of the universe and challenge yourself to answer some of the unsolved questions like when did time start, let’s say you are a farmer; you have the information about when to sow seeds, when to wipe away the weeds, when to water, if you are an agricultural engineer; you have information about how to engineer or breed new crops to produce more food. So, work of some sort in general requires gathering specific information related to that specific work. And as an intelligent being, you try to use your information, increase your knowledge, solve particular problems in your work area. The basic challenge of life is to feed yourself everyday which requires access to food, which requires access to money, which requires certain skills to earn money, which drives you to grow to learn certain things of your interest. A day is like planning different actions, making priorities for solving different problems of your life. So, thinking and planning are the two necessary things which you need to master. The better you can solve your problems of feeding yourself, entertaining yourself, communicating your needs, understanding others, gaining edge over others to prove your uniqueness, the more intelligent you are. I am looking everything from a problem solving perspective. Some may say that you need to learn about how to ask questions, how to approach, how to employ different solutions, how to look from different angles, how to think to identify the patterns, how to plan in an organized way and then how to execute accordingly. Now what will be super intelligence. Is it just the extension from intelligence, just to be able to store more information, compute more approaches so that you stumble upon new ways so that you can give better answers to the questions posed? I was watching Sam Harris asking whether we can build AI without losing control over it. I liked this part where he mentioned how we will just continue forever..
.., given how valuable intelligence and automation are, we will continue to improve our technology if we are at all able to. What could stop us from doing this? A full-scale nuclear war? A global pandemic? An asteroid impact? Justin Bieber becoming president of the United States?
The second assumption is that we will keep going. We will continue to improve our intelligent machines.
He talks about general intelligence which ,in his words, is an ability to think flexibly across multiple domains.
Intelligence is a matter of information processing in physical systems. We have already built narrow intelligence into our machines, and many of these machines perform at a level of superhuman intelligence already. And we know that mere matter can give rise to what is called “general intelligence,” an ability to think flexibly across multiple domains, because our brains have managed it.
I probably disagree when he said the rate of progress doesn’t matter, because any progress is enough to get us into the end zone. But may be he tried to mean somethings else. Then I also watched talking another visionary Ray Kurzweil. He gives a evolutionary history of how we reached where we are now as a mammal by expanding our pre-frontal cortex and then he proposes how we can take us to make another leap towards being more intelligent.
Anyway, it’s all exciting to think about how our futures will shape, how we will even define intelligence and how we will strive to be more intelligent.