Re: [sl4] Factors of intelligence

From: Randall Schmidt (
Date: Thu Feb 26 2009 - 21:23:45 MST

The best summation of general intelligence that I've heard (and I
unfortunately do not remember who said this) is that intelligence is the
innate ability to come to correct conclusions through simple observation
when others of lesser intelligence would need concrete evidence and
explanation to come to the same conclusion.

For example: I work at a convenience story (give me a break, I'm 16), and I
one day overheard my boss complaining about how impossible it is to win on a
lottery ticket and how there should be a greater number of prizes available,
but of less individual stature. The customer that he was talking to informed
him that the state had previously attempted such a thing and that it didn't
work out very well because people were far better attracted by a few large
prizes than a bunch of small ones. My boss was quite surprised and began
talking about "mindless sheep", "idiots", and other nonsense like that. I
found it hard to believe that this tidbit wasn't common sense. If human
nature were to ever be defined, such optimistic greediness would certainly
be in the definition.

That definition could be applied to most animals, if we were able to really
get inside of their heads and puzzle out what they were thinking, but I'm
skeptical that the intelligence of single-celled organisms can be measured
at all within a species. Some few will have mutations which either improve
or retard their abilities, but for the most part all are equally adept at
floating about and consuming whatever they might happen upon.

But you could perhaps judge the relative 'intelligence' between species of
microorganisms by their reaction time, sensitivity to light, and such
things. However, I don't understand what is meant by the assertion that we
"need" a general idea of intelligence that can be extended across the whole
spectrum of life and even non-life. I don't think it's relevant to come up
with a set of factors to measure intelligence by and apply that to every
single thing on the planet Earth. We'd just end up with some scientific
mumbo-jumbo that can't be used to predict behavior or do anything that
intelligence is usually used for. It would just be useless classification,
which we have plenty of as it is.

On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 11:21 AM, Roko Mijic <> wrote:

> 2009/2/26 Johnicholas Hines <>:
> >>> > --- On Wed, 2/25/09, Petter Wingren-Rasmussen
> >>> <> wrote:
> >>> > > This is freely from the foreword of the swedish translation
> >>> > > of "Check your own I.Q." by H.J.Eysenck.
> >
> > These psychological measures of intelligence are generally specialized
> > for measuring and describing the differences in capability among
> > humans. Rarely, they can be extrapolated to chimps or mammals in
> > general.
> >
> > We need ideas of "intelligence" that can be applied to rocks,
> > bacteria, single-celled creatures, plants, animals, calculators,
> > single humans, the human race as a whole, weakly-superintelligent
> > emulated humans, computers with many more MIPS than the human race as
> > a whole and novel strongly superintelligent entities.
> Shane Legg and Marcus Hutter have done this:
> >
> > Evolutionary "fitness" might be a candidate measure of intelligence,
> > for all that it's uncomputable.
> >
> > Johnicholas
> >
> --
> Roko Mijic
> MSc by Research
> University of Edinburgh

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:01:04 MDT