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

From: Heartland (
Date: Tue Aug 29 2006 - 16:44:28 MDT

> 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 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.


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