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Human intelligence, machine “intelligence”, animal intelligence?, communication, and animism. :)

Is artificial intelligence possible? Well, that depends on what we mean by “intelligence”. If we mean “memory”, machines clearly remember things better than humans. If we mean “chess playing” machines, again, better than humans.

Humans have a real limitation: our short term memory, also known as “working memory” is terrible. Furthermore, it takes us no little time to put information into our “long term memory”, where, again, we are outclassed by machines.

Yet, clearly, humans do some things better than machines. Deriving new hypothetical inferences from existing known data, for example.

This does not mean that machines will not “evolve” into the ability to engage in “creative” acts such as painting (computer composers already exist) or complex problem solving. However, to present, the capacity of humans to integrate a vast array of disparate information and derive not only certain inferences therefrom but also potential hypothesis, the ability to develope metacognitive process – heuristics – seems unique to humans.

Seems. So far.

The problem of machine intelligence relates back to the question of animal intelligence and communication I alluded to earlier. For example, apparently, a beluga whale was able to vocalize the word “out” to signal its displeasure, and this in a hearing channel (frequency) humans could perceive.

Meanwhile, what about mice? It is known that mice can remember, can negotiate mazes, and engage in primitive forms of reason. Are they “thinking”? Are they “self-aware”?

Just as we can look at other species to question the idea of intelligence and communication we can also look at other bodies in the universe such as planets or solar systems. Aristotle regarded such things as inanimate, as not having a principle even of vegetative motion. Volcanos and earthquakes however are motion. For all we know humans are but cells in a giant living body, the so-called “gaia hypothesis” of the earth as a living organism, and possibly a self aware one.

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