Saturday, September 25, 2010

More on Intelligence

A definition of intelligence from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

"The ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)."

But what is an ability in a deterministic universe?

For any given input, a deterministic system can only react in one way.

If you expose a deterministic system to a set of inputs that represent a particular environment, the system will react in the one and only way it can to that set of inputs.

Knowledge is just the internal state of the deterministic system.

This is true of a human. This is true of a bacterium. This is true of a Roomba vacuum cleaner. This is true of a hurricane. This is true of a rock.

And, as I pointed out in the latter half of my earlier post, probabilistic systems are no better.

Intelligence is an arbitrary criterion based only on how things "seem" to you, and which has no other basis in how things are.

So, that is what I mean by:

"The word 'intelligence' doesn't refer to anything except the experiential requirements that the universe places on you as a consequence of its causal structure."

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