What is intelligence? I answer this question by saying that Intelligence is a description. It is people creating intelligence by describing the meaning they apply to a function. You cannot point your finger at intelligence. Point your finger at an intelligent animal and what is it you are pointing to? Probably the animal did something that pleased you, something in line with your intentions or expectations. So it is really your intentions that you should point to. Alternatively, if you point at a thing that represents intelligence, such as your smart phone, in reality you are describing a function that lead to something that pleased you.
To define intelligence you first have to find a function and then describe a meaning, and also an intention. A function alone is not intelligence. For example, that hydrogen bonds with carbon to create a miracle called water, this is a function of carbon and hydrogen. The miraculous meaning we assign to water is that it allows life. Were there an intention to create water and life, then this intention to create is the intelligence. If there was no intention to create water, then we are simply lucky to have water and lucky to have life on our planet.
What about computers and cars and libraries and spacecraft? Are these intelligence? What about the United Nations and Peace Corps and think tanks and journals, are these intelligence? Again, if people have applied a meaning and an intention then we can say these have the intelligence we have assigned to them. If they fail to manifest the intention we assigned to them, then they loose the function and meaning we gave them. We would then change our description of them so to remove the idea of intelligence.
What about the human mind? Is that thing intelligent? Are people intelligent simply because they possess an amount of neurons with a given structure? This is like asking if carbon bonded to hydrogen is intelligence. We must describe an intention to the function. Then we must assess if the intention is coming to fruition. Then we will know if our application of intelligence meets with our own standard.
Okay, so what intention shall we apply to the human mind? What function is occurring that might lead to an outcome we believe has meaning? First, let’s note the functions of the human mind: The mind develops connections over time in response to the environment. The mind perceives with five senses. The mind abstracts to see patterns and make predictions. The mind applies feelings to its perceptions. These feelings are value judgements. Ah! There is the key. From a myriad of experiences and abstractions people arrive at “cheat notes” called feelings. Our feelings quickly reference complex intentions and apply meaning to a current function. We are happy when we believe our intentions are being fulfilled. We are unhappy when we believe our intentions are thwarted. The intensity of our feelings indicates the seriousness we apply to the effect on our intentions, and on our idea of intelligence. The intention of the human mind is to be happy. As we succeed at happiness over time, then we can say we are intelligent according to our own parameters for intelligence.
Humans use a very simple definition of intelligence. It is what makes one happy. How smart is that? The fact is, we do need to have our cheat notes, feelings. There is too much going on to convene the United Nations every time there is a decision to be made. But have we taken this too far? Are too many people so lazy (or even cowardice) that hardly anything is given a second thought or discussed with a group? To have government and advertising make our decisions for us is very convenient. Soon, artificial intelligence will beam directly into our brains.
There is yet another force occurring on the planet. There are still people fascinated with their own ability to think. They see value in an open minded re-evaluation of functions and meaning and intentions. They see life as a process, a complex interaction between neural development, perception, cognition, and communication. These people have not divorced themselves from intelligence = happiness. However, they have decided to deliberately engage the process. They see meaning as being more happiness. They see the intention as being extended happiness. They see the function as themselves engaging as much of life as is possible so to be more happy.
Is iAmSapien intelligence? Not at all. iAS is simply where carbon has an opportunity to meet hydrogen. A function happens. Meaning will be applied to the function as people comment on or link to the function. The intention will become a community event. As such, there will be more perceptions applied, more cognition applied, and more communication applied. The overall neural activity on the planet will increase. We anticipate that more people will have more happiness as a result. If this happens, then we can say that the intention was intelligent. We met our own expectation.
iAS is an experiment. Do people want happiness? The people who want happiness will be attracted to the positive nature of iAmSapien simply because, by definition, the positive direction is toward happiness.
Of the people who choose happiness, will they choose happiness for others? Hmm, is this a meaningful question? Why might a smaller group be choosing happiness for a larger group? Well, we do it all the time. It is called leadership. It is very rare to see perfect democracy. Rather, it is very natural to step into a crowd and look to see who is leading. The same happens on iAS. People step into the site and look to see who is leading. These people will be at the top of the matrices. These will be people who self-appointed themselves as leaders by deciding to make the effort. They made an effort to perceive more, think more, and communicate more. They will have created the neural development necessary for the task.
Can we point to these leaders and say, “There, that is intelligence!”? No, not really. Instead we can point to our happiness that has evolved and expanded. Because our own intentions, and because our concepts of what is meaningful, and because our own functions have evolved to understand these larger role models that we have chosen to lead us. We are describing ourselves in a new way, and so we are happy.
Robert Swanson, WorldWisePeople, LLC