Re: What is Intelligence? (Was: Darwinian Extropy)

Dan Clemmensen (
Sat, 28 Sep 1996 13:58:03 -0400

Robin Hanson wrote:
> Where do you folks think intelligence, the ability to solve mental
> problems, resides? If we talk about speeding up brains, well those
> are just faster brains of the same intelligence. If we talk about
> improving brains by giving them better software, i.e. better concepts
> and insights, well that is just brains of the same intelligence who
> know more. Somewhere you think that there is some special central
> quality that remains fixed now, but will suddenly explode to higher and
> higher levels once agents can hack their hardware.
> Maybe, but maybe also what makes us smart is bascially what we know
> and how fast we can think - maybe there isn't much more that matters.
> If so, the ability to hack hardware will bring a big one-time jump in
> raw speed, which will slow down into diminishing returns as most of
> the easy speedups are found. And maybe if there are some qualitative
> improvements possible in "basic intelligence", they won't be at all
> easy to find.

I speculate that "intelligence" has many components. Among the more
compnents are the knowlwdge base and the speed, as you also speculate.
add that interactions between the speed and the knowledge are likely to
constitute an important additional component. For purposes of the
we can restrict the discussion of inteligence to "technical creative
intelligence." Other types of intellectual acrtivity are important and
valuable, but not relevant to the feedback mechanism.

As it happens, the argumant for a rapid feedback mechanism doesn't
on the whole mechanism of intelligence. It depends on some assumptions
are IMO simpler and more obvious:
1) Speed and knowledge base are important components of
2) We will be able to increase the both the speed and the knowlege
of existing humans by using computers and new software and
3) A more intelligent researcher can develop a better understanding
the basis of intelligence, and can therefore increase
further, either through better computer hardware and software or
other means.

The get an initial increase from the first two assumptions, which then
leads to
further increases via the third.