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QuoteOriginally posted by HadrianThis all shows us just how we and the planet are miss served by our illusion of human inelegance.While I agree that humans can be very inelegant, I assume the word you wanted was intelligence.Making this substitution, I would agree that much of our intelligence is illusory (this is part of the trouble in trying to define artificial intelligence, that we can never really get to grips with how illusory our own intelligence is). The problem is that simply removing that illusion does not give us the intelligence we lack.
Originally posted by HadrianThis all shows us just how we and the planet are miss served by our illusion of human inelegance.
. . . then how are we any qualitatively different from many other species . . .
Jeez - that took some real intelligence to do that!!You would have to be a human, both to do it and to appreciate it.
Actually, he did neither - he gave instructions to his computer to do it . . . . .
QuoteActually, he did neither - he gave instructions to his computer to do it . . . . .By that argument what does any of us actually do?IK Brunell only told other people to do things.
Humans have hands to build things. Other creatures, which may have similar intelligence, don't have hands. I think I'm agreeing with another someone about taking human technology out of the equation here.
What about the Turing test?That works if 'intelligent' means 'like us'.
The only good thing about intelligence is the perpensity to act stupid - and the only thing that saves us all is the fact that we aren't all stupid on the same day.Sorry - just my ignorance showing.
This thread is on to a loser.The word intelligence was coined long before anyone tried to quantify it. It is not a Scientific term and it is not definable. The problem is that it is a very woolly concept and a multidemensional 'quantity'.There are occasions where one can say "A is more intelligent than B" and for it to have some sort of vague meaning but that's about as far as it goes.This discussion is just going to get people cross with each other to no purpose. We're talking faith not fact here.
If we start with an axiomatic definition of intelligence then there is no room for opinion. If we don't then opinions can be anything.I know when I see a sign of intelligence and when I see stupidity -but that's just my personal point of view. I base my assessment of intelligence on the ability to solve complex problems and to communicate effectively. But this involves a window with an upper as well as a lower limit - due to my personal limits. I probably could not recognise a 'God - Like' intelligence at all. Some excellent plans and decisions would appear totally stupid to me as I could not appreciate them.This is why I base my assessment from a 'like me - but a bit smarter ' standpoint.
But you cannot do science on anything but axiomatic definitions.
QuoteBut you cannot do science on anything but axiomatic definitions. What sort of Scientist would launch into an investigation of something which has an unknown number of parameters, about which you can do no measurements and in which any observations are almost totally subjective? He'd just have to be a Cosmologist.
As for doing science on the unmeasurable - try measuring entropy
QuoteAs for doing science on the unmeasurable - try measuring entropyNot really fair; entropy change can be calculated using readily measurable quantities.
I suppose you could have some sort of definition of intelligence involving entropy, efficiency and a load of information theory. But the 'usefulness' intelligence should / would surely be taken into account and that wrecks the Science involved.
Intelligence must be scientifically defined as adaptive behavior. An insect can change its behavior in a tiny margin and only through repeated trials of aversive stimulus pairing. As you go up the "totem pole" of intelligence, each successively more intelligent organism can change its behavior to a wider degree. At the top is homo sapiens that can change their behavior so rapidly and effectively that they have harnessed fire and developed complex language and use technology and drive cars etc etc.Any other alleged definition of intelligence is doomed to failure. And you don't have to accept this conclusion on faith. Eventually this forum thread itself is going to demonstrate the truth of it.
Quote from: sophiecentaur on 01/03/2008 14:41:01QuoteAs for doing science on the unmeasurable - try measuring entropyNot really fair; entropy change can be calculated using readily measurable quantities.Can you? What units is entropy measured in?
I think it could be very hard to distinguish between 'intellectual' . 'cultural' development and the strictly 'biological' development - such as the development of immunity to infections.
Are we sure that this particular endeavour is worthwhile?
The word 'intelligence' is a very catch-all term. One might have to define a set of subdivisions of the word before measurement would become worthwhile.
Quote from: another_someone on 01/03/2008 15:08:27Quote from: sophiecentaur on 01/03/2008 14:41:01QuoteAs for doing science on the unmeasurable - try measuring entropyNot really fair; entropy change can be calculated using readily measurable quantities.Can you? What units is entropy measured in?Perhaps it's a dimensionless quantity. There are lots of those.
All absolute measures must be dimensionful.
QuoteAll absolute measures must be dimensionful.How about Pi and e?Those are two ratios which are 'measurable'. And then we quote and measure percentages all the time.
Anyway - entropy's J/K.
OK, I accept that this is used for heat entropy, but how do you apply this to changes in entropy at constant temperature?
The problem with going down this road is that it depersonalises the concept and mixes up two essentially different things.
Our appreciation of intelligence, where it relates to another human, is not really the same as when observing some 'blind' process of evolving. Scientists constantly warn against anthropmorphising; a bacterium doesn't 'want' to resist the drug in the same way that I 'want' to get better when I am ill. Or am I just being an arrogant human?
Bacteria have the reputation of being primitive, unsophisticated types. But this microscopic menagerie of organisms has the uncanny ability to rapidly adapt to vastly different environments and evade host immune systems. While random mutation has been thought to explain this ability, Richard Moxon, of Oxford University, believes bacteria have a slicker, quicker system.In the March 10 issue of Science, a group of American, British and Italian scientists present the deciphered genetic sequence of Neisseria meningitidis—the bacterium responsible for life-threatening infections like meningitis and septicemia. Within the approximately 2.2 million building blocks of DNA code the researchers predict 2,158 genes. They hope knowing the genes will eventually help them find good targets for drugs.Searching through these genes, Moxon has identified a set of "contingency genes," which contain a region with a higher rate of mutation than other areas of the genome. Mutations in these regions garble the whole gene sequence, effectively switching the gene off. Moxon calls these stretches of DNA "switch regions."When bacteria invade a new host, they face a hostile battlefield. If this were a bacterial video game, it would be called "Adapt or Die." Swarms of immune cells attempt to wipe out the invaders, some with toxic chemicals and others with molecular harpoons. Still other immune cells just eat the invaders whole. The invaders must brave not only this shower of cellular ammunition but also varying temperature, acidity and humidity."Contingency genes are the bacterium’s answer to the rapidly changing landscape," says Moxon.Each gene can be flicked on or off, and the switching mechanism is random mutation within the switch region. Each time a bacterium divides, one mutation within the switch region might turn the gene sequence to rubbish, effectively turning the gene off. A mutation in a switched-off gene’s switch region might restore that gene’s activity.Contingency genes function like a "library of thousands to millions of potential variants," says Moxon. With one of these genes, the bacterium has two variations on hand. Two genes provide four alternatives. With 20 contingency genes, a bacterium would have a repertoire of more than a million possible variations. When Moxon’s team analyzed the genome of the bacterium N. meningitidis, they found 65 possible contingency genes—enough to put billions and billions of variations in the bank.Moxon believes that mutations occur frequently in the switch regions because they are filled with short repetitive sequences of DNA’s four building blocks—A, C, G, and T. Replication in such repetitive sequences is prone to "slipping and mis-pairing," says Moxon. When repair machinery surveys the DNA before the replication step, it sees the mis-pairing and either adds or subtracts a base. This causes the DNA sequence to be shifted either one place to the left or right. Such mistakes can eventually prevent the gene from being read, effectively switching it off. In the next generation of bacteria, another slip and mis-pairing in the same region could turn the gene back on.Contingency genes provide an intriguing potential explanation of how a population of bacteria can rapidly adapt. According to his hypothesis, randomly flipping genes on and off creates unique genetic combinations in the rapidly reproducing population. With so many genetic variants, some are likely to survive even the most concerted onslaughts of the immune system.The finding has implications for drug development, Moxon points out, because a drug targeted at a gene’s product will not be of much use if the gene is frequently switched on and off. In any population of bacteria, some cells will succumb to the drug, while others survive to reproduce.With the complete sequence of the N. meningitidis genome in hand, researchers can now choose to target genes that lack switch regions. Furthermore, the research offers clues about which genes to avoid and which to target in other disease-causing bacteria.
But. is personalisation good science?
QuoteBut. is personalisation good science?Why should it be? There is more to life, the World and everything than Science - unless you insist Science includes every discipline.
If you really think it's worth while to put bacteria and humans on some sort of scale of intelligence then go ahead. You will need a log log scale to include all living things and to assign them a number. Logical relationships tend to have a complexity relating to the factorial function so, if we deal with ten times the number of variables with our brains, the complexity may increase by a factor of 3.5million.
You are right to 'explain' some of the ways we operate as post hoc rationalisation but we also do a lot of ante hoc rationalisation too. We can have desires for all sorts of things and express these desires before we have or haven't obtained or achieved them. You will probably cheat by saying we are post hoc rationalising the fact that we have expressed desires but there is a distinct difference- if only in the ability to 'think' and communicate in the subjunctive mood. When you say that computers can be more rational than humans you are pointing out where they are falling short; it is not a feature of their superiority; it is a shortcoming.
I appreciate your wish to de-mystify us but there is a risk that, in following that line, you lose the wonder of it all. You seem to be almost afraid of the fact(?) that we have something special about us. Do you see this view as risky in some way?
I would disagree that any other definition is doomed to failure, but I am quite happy with the definition you have offered (it is actually not so far from the definition I proposed - I used the term 'problem solving', whereas you are using the term 'adaptive behaviour' - I don't see a huge gulf between them).
The problem I have is that you seem to be implying that collectives of individuals (societies, even species) do not exhibit collective adaptation behaviour. I cannot accept this assertion.
As you say, homo sapiens have harnessed fire and developed complex language, but what you quite rightly did not say is that an individual homo sapien harnessed fire or developed complex language.
Then again, we are not the only species to have developed language (in various forms), and there are species (such as bats and dolphins) that have learnt to use sound in ways that until the 20th humans had not learnt to master (and even then, they could only learn to master with the development of machines, and then the development was as a collective, since no individual could have made the development possible on their own).
If one is good at maths, but not English, does that make that person unintelligent? Or one could be a writer, but not much good at maths (like me) does that make one less intelligent? Or supposing you have a talent at sport. The brain has to make thousands of computations to kick a ball a particular way, etcetera ( I'm stealing one of Dr. Karl's points here). There are many different ways to view intelligence.
Quote from: another_someone on 01/03/2008 17:22:19I would disagree that any other definition is doomed to failure, but I am quite happy with the definition you have offered (it is actually not so far from the definition I proposed - I used the term 'problem solving', whereas you are using the term 'adaptive behaviour' - I don't see a huge gulf between them).There is no relationship between those two things! "Problem solving" is business-speak. It is like an executive/corporate buzzword. That's the way somebody who reads the Wall Street Journal would try to define intelligence in relation to an IQ test that they wholeheartedly believe actually measures something.Anyway.... I think in terms of a scientific/biological/neuroscience perspective, problem-solving would be subsumed under the behavior normally called PLANNING. What is the "problem" that intelligence provides a "solution" to? It's a failed way of looking at this. In any case, it is fine for a philosopher to look at the world as "problems" with "solutions" but in science no such claims can be made. We have to be a little more careful with our wording.
QuoteThe problem I have is that you seem to be implying that collectives of individuals (societies, even species) do not exhibit collective adaptation behaviour. I cannot accept this assertion."Collective adaptation behavior" is a mental abstraction. The only reason you cannot accept the assertion is because you are inventing mental categories up in your own head and then demanding I cater to them. What you are probably going to do now is conflate "adaptive behavior" with something like BIOLOGICAL CHANGE, and then point at a tree that heals itself and demand I admit that its "adapting its behavior".
QuoteAs you say, homo sapiens have harnessed fire and developed complex language, but what you quite rightly did not say is that an individual homo sapien harnessed fire or developed complex language.I'm pretty sure what I wrote was that humans have the ABILITY to control fire, which is completely different from saying "fire was harnessed". I was not intending to point at technology and go "LOOK! Problem solving! Intelligence!". I think that's what your own mind read, but it's not what I wrote or intended to communicate. The use of fire is not in our genetics. It is culture and has to be picked up by watching someone else do it during our lifetime. That means that you have a suite of behaviors that you are born with, but using fire is not one of them. That particular behavior has to be learned. So the suite of innate behaviors does not contain those which you engage in now as an adult. It follows that your behavior changed. More accurately, it follows that your behavior adapted.
At the top is homo sapiens that can change their behavior so rapidly and effectively that they have harnessed fire and developed complex language and use technology and drive cars etc etc.
QuoteThen again, we are not the only species to have developed language (in various forms), and there are species (such as bats and dolphins) that have learnt to use sound in ways that until the 20th humans had not learnt to master (and even then, they could only learn to master with the development of machines, and then the development was as a collective, since no individual could have made the development possible on their own).That's simply false, sir. Bats did not "LEARNT" to use sonar to navigate. Natural selection produced that ability in their genes. That is completely different from learning. Cats have much better reflexes than human beings. Birds of prey have much better vision than human beings. However, human beings are many orders of magnitude more intelligent than birds. What's the essential difference? The difference is that we can CHANGE our behavior, and they cannot.
Let me make an analogy. A computer can perform long division several million times a second, and do so for hours on end, without messing up a SINGLE DIGIT. Does this make your computer more intelligent than you? Of course not. They burn the circuitry into an integrated circuit during manufacture, and the entire behavior of that microchip can be completely described by a list of short machine code instructions. (The list is called the Instruction Set). The chip's behavior cannot CHANGE. In fact, if it does change, it is considered faulty. Again, you can change your behavior, and the long-dividing supercomputer cannot.
I don't mean to get personal here, but I'm looking at your other posts on this thread, and you are attributing intelligence to bacteria, which don't even have a central nervous system. I think you are trying desperately to define intelligence as some sort of ability to survive in an environment, and it's not working, and so you are posting ever more absurd sentences in this thread. Yes, if you look at an entire species of bacteria, some of them are very good at surviving. I just want to tell you, very clearly now, that intelligence is NOT "ability to survive in an environment". It has never meant that in any sense at all. Plants and bacteria are the stupidest forms of life possibly imaginable since they have no central nervous system.
Quote from: another_someone on 01/03/2008 17:22:19There is no relationship between those two things! "Problem solving" is business-speak. It is like an executive/corporate buzzword. That's the way somebody who reads the Wall Street Journal would try to define intelligence in relation to an IQ test that they wholeheartedly believe actually measures something. But are you sure you just don't have the right type of intelligence for business? I share your dislike for jargon and modish or inflated diction (only a bad writer uses modish or inflated diction), but that does not mean that business people don't have the right type of intelligence for the job. I've been working with creative people. They are very creative, as the type of intelligence they have leads them to be, but they went out of business.
There is no relationship between those two things! "Problem solving" is business-speak. It is like an executive/corporate buzzword. That's the way somebody who reads the Wall Street Journal would try to define intelligence in relation to an IQ test that they wholeheartedly believe actually measures something.