Musing on Intelligence — Part 1: What is it?


What is intelligence?

To create artificial intelligence, one must first define intelligence.  Most would define intelligence as behaviors  similar to that of humans, e.g., passing the Turing test.  Yet others define intelligence as simple as innate ability to adapt.

While working at NASA, two roboticists gave me and my colleagues a presentation on insect robots–simple legged robots with preprogrammed gaits.  They showed a video of hundreds of these robots placed in a simple maze–initially moving in random directions, but over time began to march as a group in a common direction.  The roboticists argued that these robots exhibited collaborative intelligence.  I found their attribution of collaboration, a highly intelligent behavior, to these seemingly dumb robots were borderline hilarious, as the observed collaboration is no more intelligent than a handful of balls placed on an incline “decided” to roll in the same direction.

It seems to me that acceptable definition of intelligence is in the eye of beholder.  What may be intelligent to one, may not carry much meaning to another.  Also attribution of root of intelligence can also be subjective.

In Part 2, I will dive deeper and raise more questions on intelligence.

(The above article is solely the expressed opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the position of his current and past associations)

Leave a Reply