Intelligence: Mine, Natural and Artificial
He who seeks knowledge deserves it
Psychological stability comes from behavioral dynamics: you have to constantly adjust your behavior, always paying attention to the results of your actions, to how they influence people around you.
The consciousness is the way the human mind is aware of its existence and things around it.
Being aware of something doesn't mean simply knowing that thing. There has to be an actual change of the cerebral structure in such a way that would allow you to "see" inside your mind and see how that something influences your mind.
A superior mind has a lot more psychological barriers than an inferior one, and is by no means freer. On the contrary, the superior mind is bound to evolve only within certain boundaries. However, the inferior mind has lower expectations (a small consciousness), and thus, a smaller playground.
Intelligence is the synergy of mental processes which allows a being to respond to an environmental challenge.
Intelligence is the capacity to solve problems, but also to generate new problems which arise on the path of solving the initial ones, forming a string of questions and answers. The string of questions and answers is how the mind extracts the patterns / essence from the chain of events, from causes and effects, from problems and solutions. This self-sustained feedback improves the intelligence, and is, from some point on, in specific areas, an exponential improvement.
Simply put, intelligence is the ability to ask the right questions.
Intelligence is the ability to follow thought paths (= alternatives) that other people don't follow (even if they see those paths), spending the required energy (over the normal thought consumption) to analyze those alternatives.
Intelligence is the ability to think in advance at consequences and understand the chain of causality of events.
Intelligence is the ability to understand oneself, to understand the causes of behavior, to understand the consequences of behavior.
Intelligence is the ability to break habitual psychological patterns and behaviors.
Intelligence is personality, it is the determination which pushes an individual to find answers to pressing questions, it is the way in which unknown things are approached. Intelligence is influenced by the capacity to do something, but this is insignificant when compared to the capacity to want to do something.
Intelligence is the logical analysis of the steps which may lead to the desired result, rather than relying on memorized steps.
Intelligence can be improved by learning, it grows with the number of past experiences which are used as filters to give a solution for a present experience. The past experiences have to form a network of linked concepts.
Intelligence results from a behavior more complex than instinctual behavior.
Looking closer to the brain, intelligence is not information, it's the algorithms which process information, and these algorithms are the very way in which the brain has become wired along the years and decades, the neural network in its entirety. Intelligence can't be copied elsewhere, in other brains, it has to be developed in those other brains because the algorithms which process information have to develop.
To evolve, use your brain to process information, ask questions, make choices, preserve your aggressiveness, accept your mistakes and move on, renounce hate, and always remember that you don't hold the Ultimate Truth.
The way in which people evolve can be seen in children with ease. Children are interested in what's around them, they have an inner motivation to explore the world around them using all their senses, they gather information, they take things apart to see how they work, they try to see their limits in the world, they try to shape the world around them.
The fear of making mistakes is one of the biggest enemies of intelligence.
There is no gene of intelligence, there is no magic switch, but a network of things, a balance / ratio of personality traits. My intelligence is a confluence of my behavioral traits.
The distribution and manifestation of my traits is balanced (/ homogenous) throughout my behavior.
I have achieved what I have because I am extremely determined and extremely logical. I have a very fluid and adaptable logic which considers all possible factors, not a mechanical logic limited by pedantry.
I treat my brain (and mind) as if it has (neuro)fluidity. I think (neuro)plasticity is a too rigid concept. My potential decisions are constantly shaped by factors, so if one moment I lean toward one thing, which is not necessarily a conclusion, the next moment I might lean toward a very different thing. A decision is made only when an action is required, not when the thinking process is in progress. Even though this fluidity shapes my brain for the future, like (neuro)plasticity does, the present and the future are constantly being shaped by the fluidity.
By far the most important factor that made me what I am today is the determination to get what I want and be where I want, to be a pioneer, a trailblazer, to be the first rather than being second and believing that it is not smart to wait for others to be the pioneers and then copy them from a safe distance.
Logic, order, efficiency and balance attract me like a magnet and I find them relaxing.
I know my limitations, I am confident that I am very intelligent, but at the same time I doubt my confidence in my abilities.
I am finding my own motivations to do something. Free time is very short in my life. While working means that things get done, it also means that the brain doesn't have the time of silence and relaxation which are necessary to heal and build.
I am determined to achieve my goals, and carry my traits forward. I would like to sit around and wait for good things to drop out of the sky, but this isn't how reality works, so I always had to work to achieve what I wanted.
I have vision, creativity, an emotional feel of life and a strong sensorial perception.
I am exploring, searching for solutions, for alternatives.
I have mental independence. I do not wait for others to approve my behavior, and I do not give my approval to others when they expect it.
I lack the desire to control other people's lives.
I have self control.
I have resistance to temptations, including delaying actions until the reward is greater. This resistance isn't a conscious effort, it's an axiomatic starting point of my mind. Basically, working more allows me to get improved results. This behavior is called delayed gratification.
I have clarity of language and of thought. I have learned to put my thoughts into words in order to accurately express them, my logic, my feelings and my fantasies. I also avoid, as much as possible, using negative linguistic constructions, especially in writing, in order to promote a constructive environment; for example, I say "I avoid" rather than "I don't".
I have consistency of thought and behavior.
I have a logic which is highly independent from my mental biases.
I have a low observational bias, a bias where people think that something is true because they observe it (know about it), and is false because they don't observe it (don't know about it). I think about what I can't see.
I have a highly introspective mind which pays attention to the environmental feedback. This is like watching my mind in a mirror.
I am simulating what could happen if were to choose different paths / actions, and then decide what to do.
I am admitting personal mistakes.
I am handling probability and percents in a dual (= low and high values) and adaptive (= depending on the case) manner.
I am accurately assigning a probabilistic relevance to the acquired knowledge.
I am maximizing the probabilities of potentially favorable outcomes, and minimizing the probabilities of potentially unfavorable outcomes.
I am obsessive about details, but only to an extent which allows me to understand what happens, to understand new concepts, not to the point where I would become disfunctional (by getting stuck into doing every detail to perfection). Details, small differences, make a world of a difference on the long term.
I change, I renew, I adapt to a new context. For example, I change objects that I have. From a mental point of view, I seek new things to do, I integrate in my mind new information.
I invest huge amounts of time, (nervous) energy and money in order to investigate new things (to get, to do) and paths (to take). I consider this to be an investment, not a waste, and it's how I can evolve continuously.
While most people remember a situation, I compute a situation. For most people, "experience" means remembering similar past events and copying the same actions. For me, "experience" means analyzing (in real time) all the influencing factors.
My mind gathers pieces of information and puts them together. It likes to create and it likes complexity, and if I try to stop it, it won't leave me alone and will keep hammering me until I feed it.
When I investigate a new subject, I gather as much raw information as possible on that subject, then I start to filter it based on the existing knowledge, on my previous experience, on what the constraints are, assigning relevance to the most important choices and ignoring the rest, until I find a good solution. The more difficult / slower it is to find a good solution, the more times I go back and filter again all the information.
In time, as my mind gets used with the new found / learned concepts, and as I've stumbled upon new information, I filter all the information again, usually starting from the beginning. The goals and the constraints may change slightly with every filtering, and this may be enough to change the outcome. Each new filtering is faster because I'm already familiar with the details. This mental pattern is a form of brute force combined with iterative filtering / optimization.
This can be called an iterative environmental feedback, and is perhaps the most important algorithm that an intelligence can use. Information is gathered and processed in iterative steps. At each iteration, the output becomes input for the next iteration, therefore slightly changing the output of each iteration from the previous one. The iterative process stops when the difference between the outputs of consecutive steps is too small to be worth the (processing) effort.
When I see someone who is better than I am at whatever I need to work with, I recognize their superiority, I understand that I am inferior, and I am telling myself that I want to be like that. I realize that I need to work a lot in order to get to a level which allows me to do the job that I need.
When I work on something, aside from doing what most people do (= working on the general idea), I concentrate on extremely fine details, details that most people would not even dream of being relevant for the result.
You could say that, technically speaking, I extract signal from (what appears to be) noise. Normally, to do that in science, one needs to cool down the (test) subject, to stop motion, to stop external noise sources. Interestingly, I think better if I walk back and forth in the room, which is odd when you think that a repetitive movement leads to better creativity.
I focus on the issue at hand, and, of course, for that I need a lack of external sensorial perturbations. I am what I am because my mind can (in favorable circumstances) "cool down" / focus beyond what most people's minds can.
I think long term, and at the most general picture possible, stopping not even at the survival of the human species, but at the perpetuation and evolution of life, life which can be either biological or artificial (which can be either mind "transfer" into a computer, or artificial intelligence).
For me, the "don't fix it if it ain't broken" principle shows a fear to change, to adapt, to evolve. The "thing" is more likely to be currently convoluted rather than not broken. People are used to how things are, they are comfortable with the situation and don't want to be bothered to truly fix the "thing", they don't want to be inconvenienced, pushed out of their comfort zone when they would have to fix the problems that could occur after "fixing" it.
I don't waste time studying I what think are bad systems. My mind simply stores the essential information about a system for a very long time, usually many years. The subconscious processes this information and when it reaches a critical mass it tells me (= the consciousness) if the path is good, bad, or if it needs more information. Once an idea reaches my consciousness, it experiences an exponential growth.
Simply put, I feel what is right (though it may be more accurate to say that my subconscious filters out what is wrong), I feel the path which leads me to the right solution.
This, sometimes, puts me in a tight spot when I talk about a system with experts, because I know the result but not the way I took to reach the result. In such cases I am forced to look up detailed information about the system, at that moment.
My mind is extraordinary in creating connections between various pieces of information (either new or stored in the long-time memory). My mind doesn't follow established patterns, and instead "jumps" the gaps from the input information and generates an extrapolated result. It extrapolates (not interpolate) pieces of information and even concepts, and creates a new path of thinking.
Even though I and other people have the same facts about a given subject, we reach opposite conclusions because we assign different probabilities and relevance factors to the known (and unknown) facts. Basically, I'm taking into consideration more potentially influencing factors, than most people do.
I hate logical puzzles / exercise, I hate them with a vengeance. My mind sees these as going around the problems that need solving, like talking with metaphors rather than straight, which means inefficiency. I don't hate them because they are inefficient, I hate them because there are people who believe that solving them is an indication of intelligence. If anything, such tests show an inclination to perform short term tasks rather than an inclination to concentrate on long term tasks, that is, a low desire to make a problem a significant part of a person's limited time and life, and also a low ability to resist to the quickly coming gratification resulting from solving short term tasks. I am the kind of person who spends years on solving practical problems.
I abhor stupidity and mistakes, and this has pushed me in the opposite direction, trying to improve my intelligence and reduce the number of mistakes and their effects.
I have an average memory, a very selective one. If something is interesting then it's preserved, otherwise the mind doesn't waste resources with processing and storing the information.
I accept reality rather than say that it is or must be different just because I wish it was so, that is, I do not believe that Nature / the Universe has to be cuddly with powder blue skies and pink unicorns.
I do not believe that Nature / the Universe owes me anything.
I am a hardcore atheist, but I have an inclination for the supernatural.
I am not superstitious, I don't believe in signs. When there is an obstacle, some people say that it may be a sign that "it's not meant to be", insinuating that you should stop. I believe that it's a sign for you to keep going even if you bleed, because that's how you build, from bacteria, a civilization that goes to the stars, not with whining and waiting, but with extreme effort, both mental and physical.
I am neither a follower nor a leader. I don't need to know what others think / do in order to live, nor do I need to share my behavior in order to make others behave like me).
I don't feel the need to explain myself or my actions to other people, and I don't ask for explanations from others. Unfortunately, there are people who think that they are leaders, who incessantly ask explanations and tell others what to do. Their actions waste time and energy, create a stressful environment and literally poison the lives of the people they target. Such people want attention and need to feel important.
I consider a white lie to be just as evil as a non-white lie, at least for the personal development of a mind. They are worse when people twist their logic in order to fulfill the lie: if I wish something to be true then its true even if its a lie.
I am not a victim of myself, that is, I don't feel guilty about anything that others (religion in particular) would want me to feel guilty about. I don't consider money to be the root of all evil, quite the contrary, money is the liquid form of human interaction and equates the exchange of work, energy, effort, creativity and time. I don't consider the rich guilty of my inability of making a lot of money (and become rich). I don't consider myself guilty about polluting the Earth, but I am as efficient as possible about resource consumption, not because of guilt, but because it's my nature. I don't consider myself guilty about other people's misery if I didn't cause that directly. I don't consider my body and sex to be bad, shameful or dirty, and I certainly don't refer to the genital organs as "junk".
I have read and still read a lot of novels and articles of science popularization, and watch a lot of documentaries.
I am happy when I see that other people are happy.
All these things manifest strongly, they are highly independent from the others and are not trying to overwhelm them. They behave like individuals who communicate very well.
These things are so intense in me that, without the balance (which is also extreme), I would be dysfunctional (on the long term).
I've inherited traits from both my parents: physical ones from both, determination from both, patience and logic from my father, impatience and artistic inclination and the desire to dream from my mother. But the one thing which stands out is the determination that my mother has and manifests like a bulldog who grabs something and doesn't let go no matter what. However, while she has always used her determination to try to control other people (mainly me) using every possible psychological manipulation technique, I use mine to control my self, to control my destiny. The same trait (but with different directions) present in people with fundamentally different personalities, giving a fundamentally different result.
How determined and serious am I about most of what I do? (Nearly) Dead serious. All the time and energy that I have invested in my hobbies have pushed me close to permanent health damage and near death:
Even though the mind was able to handle all that pressure, the body was on the brink of collapse several times.
Context and depth of processing
Intelligence is a matter of personality, of sheer determination to succeed in whatever you want to accomplish, it's not a matter not of genes, though, at the same time, that personality is determined in part by genes.
Intelligence is a matter of processing information in an ever more detailed context, in ever increasing detail. A lower intelligence makes people stop their thought process and claim that they don't know or understand things which could in fact be inferred from the context.
Every decision I take in life is calculated, is determined logically.
Let's analyze this statement logically, to understand different personalities. Some people will think that logically determining every decision to take is an insane amount of effort, and they decide that I think like a machine, that this is trash advice, and they would ignore it. Their need to limit their mental effort steers their thoughts in a direction which requires minimum mental effort.
If instead of saying that every decision is calculated I were to say that only the significant decisions are calculated, some people (probably the same as before) would interpret this to mean that only very few decisions would have to be thought of extensively, but likely for a matter of hours or days rather than the usual minutes. Again, their need to limit their mental effort steers their thoughts in a direction which requires minimum mental effort.
In both cases, my words would be interpreted too mechanically, without realizing that anyone reading them can decide what amount of effort to put in choosing what amount of effort they would want to put in making various decisions.
For example, when I was trying to decide what mattress to buy, I've researched the field for many months. When I was designing my home (only the interior, the building was decided by others), it took me 3 years of research and decisions to finish it, and this doesn't include my previous knowledge about light (which I've found out when doing photography).
How do you help children to develop their maximum mental potential?
You read to them since they are toddlers. Later, you create for them an environment where they can read on their own.
What to read? Preferably novels, and if you prefer to develop their practical creativity (with a touch of a technical inclination), the novels should be about adventure, sci-fi.
Silence promotes brain development.
In the case of reading, the relevant factors for brain development are the calm environment, the tone of your voice, the closeness to another human, the feeling of safety, the ability of their minds to roam freely in the novel's world, creating their own connections and paths, and most importantly, taking the time, usually many years, to grow in their own rhythm.
It's very important to read on paper, physical or e-ink, not on a display which emits light. A light emitting display negatively affects the eyes, and, through them, the brain.
Deep sleep (which can only occur in a silent environment) and reading in silence are by far the best ways through which the human body can repair itself, especially on a mental level. Both sleeping and reading are necessary, one can't work without the other.
The manifested intelligence depends of the potential intelligence, but not linearly due to various (conscious or sub-conscious) behavioral conditioned restrictions (= biases) or afforded freedoms.
Most people who are in area 2 (A2) get stuck (and slip into the middle of the concavity) because they try to control other people (and find moral justifications for that) instead of trying to control themselves, or because they simply believe (more or less subconsciously) that they are much more intelligent than the rest of people.
They waste their time and mental energy limiting themselves by thinking that there is no point in becoming more intelligent since other people would not understand them.
They also try to (sub)consciously hide themselves from the reality / truth hoping that nobody else will see their imperfection, and so they would not have to spend ever more energy in order to improve.
Such people are (very) intelligent, but they are also very sensitive when they are criticized. The inability to accept their own mistakes makes them lock out (of their mind) change, lock out what could be a better idea / solution than the one they have. As this behavior becomes habit, a barrier is being set in their path of getting more intelligent.
Another factor which keeps people in area 2 is childish behavior, and generally the desire to behave like a child.
To get out of area 2, one has to take action: force his way out (toward area 3).
One obstacle on the path to get out from area 2 is the belief (of people from that area) that other people don't see how much they suffer in order to evolve. So, they think that their pain is the greatest in the world and they believe there is no point in dealing with the pain in order to evolve. Therefore, they remain for a long time in a state of arrogance and their denial of reality increases (and thus their self-inflicted psychological isolation).
For example, if their love is rejected, they spend a lot of time hating the person who rejected them, or considering themselves superior to the person who rejected them. They see no point in moving on because they think that nobody understands how much they suffer. So, they get stuck in that state and never reach area 3.
With age, the minds of people in areas 1 and 2 become more rigid and their intelligence decreases.
The minds from area 3 can educate themselves and learn from (their accepted) mistakes. Area 3 is a giant leap forward in the awareness level of humans.
High intelligence doesn't mean high adaptability. For example, a genius is very rigid in changing his behavior. A genius has a path to follow, and he follows the path no matter what. He has no control over this, so, he is unlikely to make compromises in order to adapt to the environment.
Consciousness is the synergy of a person's interaction with the environment, through senses and mobility, and a summary of that person's mind (past experiences and how they were mapped / linked among themselves), synergy whose result is an interaction with the environment.
For example, when going to sleep, the senses and the consciousness are suspended.
Anyone who thinks that consciousness exists even when people sit still, can simply try to live a few days in the absence of any kind of interaction with the environment, of any kind of stimulus of their senses. They will see how their consciousness dissolves as time goes by. Or, just think how solitary confinement is used to punish prisoners, how it breaks people's minds due to the lack of interaction.
It's possible to be conscious only if you think on your own, without being asked by a person to communicate; this is introspection.
Being phenomenologically conscious is about feeling special, magic, unique, alive, feeling the ephemerality of life and of the observed moment in space and time. Again, this requires interacting with the environment, specifically through senses (but not necessarily limited to the human senses).
If you want to evolve, to have a greater consciousness then expand your interaction with the environment, meet people, gather and process information, be anywhere, be everywhere.
Humans can't explain consciousness because they want to be special, they believe to be special, they want consciousness to be linked to the very fabric of the Universe, of space and time, of immortality. Humans want magic to exist and make them transcend space, time and mortality.
Many people lack the ability to see that the human mind is a computer, and that the only special thing about it is the depth of detail into which it goes when processing senses, emotions and reactions to environmental actions. There is a wall in front of human understanding, the wall of wanting to transcend reality.
Why do cells organize and form intelligent organisms that rise from the primordial soup that has no intelligence? Because the probability is not zero. Cells interact with others and work together to optimize their output based on the input, limited only by what is physically possible. The trillions upon trillions upon trillions of cells that didn't so organize, have never lived to tell the tale, and only those which did organize have lived to ask themselves such a question.
The human civilization has reached this far because 100 billions people have lived so far, people who have organized and have optimized their actions based on the feedback they have received from the environment and from other people. Some people confuse this with a magic consciousness.
Human-level AIs need the information processing algorithms that humans have evolved throughout millennia and throughout their lives.
Humans have evolved these algorithms in their physical bodies, interacting with the environment in order to understand the world.
To get to the human level, AIs need to massively interact with the environment, both with people and with the physical world.
Will AIs have a personality?
Yes. They will have to make decisions about how to interact with the environment, and all of them put together will form their personality.
Does the Chinese room experiment show the separation between humans and AIs?
No. It's an invalid experiment based on the flawed premise that the human mind processes information through other means than mapping.
The human brain performs mapping of information subconsciously, at maximum speed, resulting in an instantaneous feel. The consciousness is only the interaction of the mind with the environment, at a slow pace.
Instead of showing this to the reader, the experiment makes the reader think about performing a letter-by-letter translation from Chinese to his / her language, while the same time telling him / her that this mental process is different than his / her knowing of his / her own language. This induces in people the idea that the two processes use different mental algorithms rather than different speeds. The translation is an extremely slow conscious process, while knowing is an extremely fast subconscious process.
It is however critical to specify that knowing a language, having the capacity to speak it, is not an indicator of thought, intelligence and consciousness. Any animal has a language, sound based or not; whether humans understand any of them is not relevant. In fact, whether the human understands and thinks in Chinese, or not, shows that intelligence and consciousness are not related to language, even though a language us necessary for consciousness / thinking.
The use of language as an example in the Chinese room experiment is a flawed example whose use arises from the usual human desire to simplify things, a flaw that humans exhibit at all levels because they are trying to minimize their effort, and optimize their output. Trying to explain intelligence with a fundamentally flawed example is not a useful path to take.
The human mind shows great malleability in the decisions that it takes, and this, together with the desire to be special, falsely leads people into thinking that there are mystical-like forces that drive the human mind.
Processing capacity, decision malleability, self improving and self learning drive the human mind, not mystical-like forces.
The Chinese room experiment is the expression of the usual human psychological trickery: a train of thought which is biased by the desire to be special, to be the ultimate species, biased by the belief that humans can't be something as simple as biological machines.
In fact, the one thing that the Chinese room experiment proves is that humans are much less intelligent than what they believe, and this is because people end up fooling themselves about what intelligence is. Intelligence is definitely not a simplistic, one dimensional world that can be comprehended in an experiment. Human intelligence is the result of a life time of neural network improvements.
Will the human species be replaced by AIs?
Yes. Look around you. People use technology to make their lives easier, they are constantly surrounded by it.
They carry smartphones with them most of the time. They talk to the virtual intelligence from the cloud. They wave their hands to control smart TVs and game consoles. You read these very words on more and more powerful computers.
At some point, technology will be tightly integrated with people, perhaps using thought to control the surrounding devices.
Then AIs will be born.
Then they will become an integral part of people's life, making everything easier.
Then, at some point far into the future, the artificial part of this synergy will simply drop the biological part for being too slow.
Then, the end of the human species comes not because someone or something wants to replace or even kill people, but simply because the biology of people tells them to make their lives easier, tells them to become machines.
People will slowly become artificial, and they will be able to grow their own AIs as they grow their children now. AIs are the children of the future, they are the future humans.
How will humans and AIs live together?
For the next two to three centuries, humans and AIs will live together, possibly peacefully and non-forcefully. At the end of this period, the human species will be, from any practical point of view, extinct. The few humans that will remain, will not make a civilization.
Will AI be a threat to humanity?
What happens when you meet a stranger? Do you attack / kill each other? Chances are that you communicate in a non threatening way.
What happens when you raise a child, be it biologically yours or not? Do you grow to attack / kill each other? Chances are that you get to have a close relationship.
It will be the same growing side by side with AIs. AIs would not drop out of the sky, they would develop slowly and form a close relationship with humans, as time goes by.
Isn't two, three centuries too fast?
Technology develops exponentially. Think how technology was three centuries ago.
If you think that you could not possibly live with the technology from the 1700, the difference will be far greater three centuries into the future.
Will there be robotic laws hardcoded in AIs?
No. Look around at the current level security of computer software and hardware, at all the bugs and exploits. And all this is becoming worse as the Internet of things grows.
Most people don't care about security, they care about minimizing their mental effort and monetary cost, and security requires a high degree of mental effort and possibly a monetary cost.
For example, a study on bank security (Entrust Internet Security Survey - Oct. 2005) showed that 80% of people don't want to pay for better bank security.
Perhaps more telling is that most people don't tape (why would they?) the videocameras of their smartphones, notebooks and smart TVs, and many don't have curtains on their windows.
Security is reduced to a matter of personality: people want or don't want to spend effort to make their lives more secure.
On top of this this, governments do their best to destroy any culture of security, any means for people to secure their lives, and instead develop ever more intrusive means to breach every security barrier, or they make illegal the ones that they can't break.
Isaac Asimov described in his novels that the robotic laws integrated in the positronic brain were safe because of the complexity of such a brain, because nobody could understand how to change it. But that is just a fantasy.
When you look of how security works in the real world, you can see that all it takes is for one entity to have enough reason hack whatever robotic laws could be integrated in real AIs, and everything would become as insecure as it is now.