What is Intelligence?

Discussions on general biology and biological evolution, genetics, zoology, ecology, botany, etc.

Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby Zanthius on April 12th, 2018, 2:19 pm 

BadgerJelly » April 12th, 2018, 10:20 am wrote:I know there is a rather strong "suggestion" that when it comes to IQ the curve is flater for men even though the average is identical.


Maybe this could explain it? ;)

Image

https://www.archania.org/biases/#Selection_bias_in_gender_studies

If all your genes are functional, you have way above average IQ. If all your genes are dysfunctional, you have way below average IQ.

Women are much more likely to have semifunctional combinations, which make them more prone to have average IQ.
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Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby mitchellmckain on April 12th, 2018, 2:59 pm 

Zanthius » April 12th, 2018, 1:58 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 11th, 2018, 8:43 pm wrote:The least educated people are thus those most unaware of how much they do not know and most easily take offense at the idea that another person knows something they do not.


I don't have the impression that less educated people often are more easily offended. Actually, some of the people I know of that are most easily offended are professors. There often comes pride and hubris with positions of authority.

mitchellmckain » April 11th, 2018, 8:43 pm wrote:Those in academia well understand that there is too much for one single person to know everything even in science, so we rely on specializations -- bowing to others when it comes to an area where they have taken the time to learn the facts.


But specialists don't necessarily know so much about the limits of their knowledge in other academic fields that they haven't specialized in, and could therefore suffer from the Dunning–Kruger effect themselves, in other academic fields where they are amateurs.


But of course... the less educated frequently hide their offense by turning it into an accusation against those who know more with some nonsense about them not knowing "the limits of their knowledge." Of course there are exceptions (professors who overestimate their own competency) but those in academia tend to know who they are because they stand out as rather foolish. But the truth is that the less educated don't even know the right questions let alone the answers, and that probably contributes to the conflict. While they are harping on all these things people supposedly do not or cannot know, the scientists are going to get annoyed at the failure to correctly distinguish between the things we actually do know from the things we really do not know.
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Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby mitchellmckain on April 12th, 2018, 3:26 pm 

Serpent » April 11th, 2018, 1:52 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 10th, 2018, 10:45 pm wrote:But there is a circularity in such words as "learn," "understand," "knowledge," and "think."

Then there is also a circularity in the words "chair", "couch" "bench", "ottoman"- because there is a collective term for those things : seating furniture. If you don't like "intelligence" as a collective term. say "cognitive functions of the brain."

You respond to things so quickly... before you even finish reading the whole post. It makes me wonder if you also respond before you even think about what you are posting.

Serpent » April 11th, 2018, 1:52 pm wrote:
"The problem is that when you try to pin down what these mean, you find that they refer to doing things that all living things do but just in a particularly human way.

Maybe not all living things - just the ones with brains. Why is that a problem?

Incorrect. When I say "all living things" that is exactly what I mean. It does not take a brain to do these things.

Serpent » April 11th, 2018, 1:52 pm wrote:
All living things have the ability to change themselves in order to handle the challenges of the environment.

Exclude fungi. plants and nematodes and put insects in the 'pending' file for now.

Incorrect. Fungi, plants, nematodes and insects all quite clearly have the ability to change themselves in order to handle a range of challenges from the environment.

Serpent » April 11th, 2018, 1:52 pm wrote:
It is just that when humans do we call this "learning." All living things find ways to process data from the environment in order to accomplish tasks, and it is only when humans do it that we call this "thinking" and "understanding."

We have to get over that dogma. It's thinking when a mouse does it, and when a pigeon does it and when an octopus does it. Once we accept that it's the same function, we can figure out ways to compare and measure, and maybe even spot differences in style.

It is a matter of definitions. Mice, pigeons, and octupii do not have the abstract capabilities of human language and so if that is how you define thinking then they do not think. But they certainly do process data from the environment in order to accomplish tasks, but then so do fungi, plants nematodes and insects. How is your restriction of this to neurology (or to a certain level of neurological organization) any different than the restriction of this to human language?

My point is not to require a redefinition of these words ("learn," "understand," "knowledge," and "think") according to either neurological function or the more general functions of living systems. My point was simply that our ideas of intelligence may not be as clear and as universal as previously assumed.
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Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby Serpent on April 12th, 2018, 5:36 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 12th, 2018, 2:26 pm wrote: Fungi, plants, nematodes and insects all quite clearly have the ability to change themselves in order to handle a range of challenges from the environment.

Incorrect. All living things change and adpat to the environment - except the ones that don't and die.
That's quite different from "the ability to change themselves", which presupposes the organism's awareness that the environment is 'challenging' them, the understanding that a change in themselves would solve the problem, autonomous volition and the capability to initiate a transformative action.
I don't believe that brainless organisms have any of those capabilities.
Moreover, adaptation is not thought, knowledge, learning, understanding or intelligence.

My point is not to require a redefinition of these words ("learn," "understand," "knowledge," and "think") according to either neurological function or the more general functions of living systems. My point was simply that our ideas of intelligence may not be as clear and as universal as previously assumed.

Our ideas may not as clear as we previously assumed, but if they're as meaningless as you persent here, we might as well dispense with language altogether.
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Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 16th, 2018, 1:28 pm 

Here is something for fluid intelligence:

http://similarminds.com/cgi-bin/int.pl
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Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby hyksos on April 23rd, 2018, 2:16 pm 

Do not get pulled into this trap. What is happening in this thread is not a two-way conversation, even if it looks like it on the surface.

The person with the username BadgerJelly, has already completely decided that intelligence = "problem solving ability".

He is not here to discuss this or defend it. He has accepted it as gospel. His mind will not be changed, and he cares not to respond to a litany of AI researchers, psychologists, and neuroscientists who have different opinions on the issue.

Every single time you quote an esteemed scientist and how they define intelligence, this user on this forum will ignore those parts of your posts with impunity. There is no nuance and no room in his thinking for anything other than what he has already concluded.


Now is this all acrimony and troll? No.. not entirely. We can learn something from this. For the topic of biological phenomenon called "intelligence" the situation is thus : There are a bunch of smart people in a room all sitting alone at their own tables. They all have strong ironclad opinions about the topic. But their opinions do not overlap, and in some cases they are contradictory to each other. The people alone at their tables don't care... they are all equally convinced they are right about it. (I refer here to Jeff Hawkins, who goes in public and says "The brain is just a prediction machine". And Peter Norvig, who declares that "Intelligence is making decisions under uncertainty." ... and Gerald Edelman, who declares that intelligence is wrong way of going at it...what is at stake is consciousness. And the list of opinions goes on and on..)

At the end of the day, when the smoke clears, you have PROOF right in front of you in this thread that science in 2018 is having a hard time defining "intelligence". There will be stuffy self-important people who will not be able to rise above the clouds far enough to realize this is happening around them. Those stuffy self-important people will continue to sit alone at their own table with their arms folded. THey will continue to sit there and just say it is a fact that we have already defined "intelligence" and it is "What I say it is" and "I don't know what the big fuss is all about!"

There is a fuss -- but some people are too isolated in their own little world to realize it happening around them. They are too disconnected from research and scientific journalism.

People in this thread have already openly admitted that Artificial Intelligence will make incremental progress with fits and starts even in the coming decades. I agree. The alternative would be that neuroscience already has an ironclad definition of intelligence, and is just waiting for the hardware to catch up. That is not happening.

Why is it not happening? Because we humans in 2018 do not have something that looks like a Fundamental Theory Of Intelligence (if I may)

The neuroscientists do not have such a theory.

The psychologists do not have such a theory.

The AI researchers do not have such a theory.

And rest assured, any self-important user of this forum (sitting alone at his table in the corner with his arms folded) does not have such a theory either.
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Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 23rd, 2018, 11:01 pm 

Hyksos -

Wrong. You have continued with this attack too long. You've exhausted my patience.
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Re: What is Intelligence?

Postby neuro on May 2nd, 2018, 10:09 am 

I find it interesting that people often speak about the "intelligence" of ants, or even bacteria or plants, or Gaia or the ecosystem.
Why do they use that term?
I believe they do because they recoginze an apparent ability to find solutions to problems.
However, it should be noted that in most of those cases this apparent "intelligence" is based on fixed and stable instinctual behaviors, population behavior, or trial-and-error guided behavior.
A population of bacteria (not the single bacteria) adapt to changing environment based on the survival and prevalence of the fittest, combined with high mutation rates (notice that changes in the environment reduce proof-reading mechanisms in DNA replication in many species, thus enhancing mutations). This looks like an intelligent behavior (by the population).
Instinctual behaviors, that sometimes look particularly intelligent, may well have been acquired in the same way (evolution is, in a sense, a trial and error procedure).

In animals with a nervous system a difference comes about: neuronal plasticity brings about the possibility of adapting (and learning) for a single subject. This may still occur mostly on a trial and error basis.

Animals with a brain become able to internally model the relations they detect in the external reality, based on logical, mathematical and causal relations, and the more so the more complex their brain is. This sets a clear difference, and I think here is when one may properly talk about intelligence.

If intelligence is thought as the capability to adapt (and solve problems) with a strategy other than trial and error, then it appears to me that the main underlying trick is a "need" to look for consistency. Actually, the anterior cingulate gyrus is activated whenever something new, unexpected, inconsistent occurs or when a failure, error or difficulty is encountered. This generates cortical arousal and forces the brain to re-examine the data. Conversely, finding a consistency, understanding something, perceiving harmony are all situationss capable to generate a sensation of pleasure.

Thus, I would suggest that "human" intelligence is driven by the quest for consistency and harmony and the driving force is the pleasure consistency and harmony are able to generate. This might be the reason why it is so difficult to reproduce human intelligence: in children, the need for consistency prevails on the capacity of handling complexity, and they are happy with Santa or any other story that fits what they know (so they can be easily fooled); in adults, the need for consistency makes it very difficult to change one's ideas - or even the most stupid detail - because this would imply letting the whole consistent castle of one's ideas to fall down and having to rebuild a consistent picture from scratch. So, intelligence would appear as the capability of letting go of the need for consistency, in order to achieve sufficient open-mindedness and capability to conceptually adapt.

But without the need for consistency one would never understand anything (would not be stimulated to). So, my impression is that intelligence is based on a reasonable balance between "curiosity" (the pleasure of acquiring new information and modifying one's own consistent picture of the world - or of the problem) and "need for harmony", which forces to hold on to a consistent picture until a new, better, one can be built; however, it is my impression that such balance works best if it continually changes in time, with curiosity prevaling at times, and defence of the learnt picture prevailing at other times.

This view is consistent with most definitions of intelligence: internal modeling to adapt suggests intelligence is consciousness and "a prediction machine"; neural plasticity is intrinsic to this suggesting that "Intelligence is the generality of learning", and the result of intelligence is "making decisions and taking actions under uncertainty."

So, this is my "wive's tale" for hyksos to enjoy and demolish...
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