Is Intelligence Artificial?

Artificial Intelligence


“Intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns, recognize relationships, reason about it and make a prediction or plan an action. That’s what intelligence is. It has nothing to do with general intelligence, intelligence is just solving problems.”

That's Jensen Huang's definition of the word. Huang is CEO of Nvdia Corporation, an American multinational technology company incorporated in Delaware and based in Santa Clara, California. He would say that, the company invented the GPU, which uses Artificial Intelligence Computing to create interactive graphics.

A definition is an instrument of purpose. Huang's definition of intelligence reveals his purpose. His hypothesis is that “We now have the ability to write software, we now have the ability to partner with computers to write software, that can solve many types of intelligence, make many types of predictions at scales and at levels that no humans can.”

Technology's solution to solving problems: build filters. Based on the nature of the content, the characteristics of the content, the features of the content, based on your implicit and your explicit and implicit preferences, find a way through all of that to predict what you would like to see.  This is what recommendations are.

But is it a miracle? Or is it a self-fulfilling program?


On human intelligence

If you look up the meaning of the word “intelligence, you will find three interrelated explanations:

  1. The ability to acquire, understand, and use knowledge.
  2. Information, especially secret information gathered about an actual or potential enemy or adversary.
  3. The gathering of such information.

Note how it's a capacity to reason; it implies there's power associated with it.

The first known use of the word was in the 14th century. It's thus useful to learn about the context in which it was used, “the highest faculty of the mind, capacity for comprehending general truths;" c. 1400, “faculty of understanding, comprehension.

Derived from Old French intelligence (12c.) and directly from Latin intelligentia, intellegentia “understanding, knowledge, power of discerning; art, skill, taste. In turn, this comes from intelligentem (nominative intelligens) “discerning, appreciative, present participle of the verb intelligere “to understand, comprehend, come to know.

Break down the action, and you have reading between. Human intelligence includes thus the ability to infer. We're used to thinking about making assumptions as a bad thing. But that's exactly what these software systems do. There's much more to the meaning of “assumption for humans, however.

On the other end of the spectrum, human intelligence leads to insight and wisdom. Perception, learning, memory, and reasoning are part of that process, along with problem solving. We learn from experience, adapt to new situations, we can handle abstract concepts like language.

We also use knowledge to adapt. But we also use it to manipulate our environment. Whether this is good or bad depends on intent. What's your aim or purpose?


Is intelligence artificial?

Only one synonym of “artificial expresses the meaning of something being produced by humans, rather than nature. And it, too has its origin in the late 14th century, “not natural or spontaneous, from Old French artificial, from Latin artificialis “of or belonging to art,” from artificium “a work of art; skill; theory, system.”

All the other contexts range from fake and lack of sincerity to not of real importance and made to conform. 

There's always a measure of arbitrariness in definitions. Their authority may rest on their usefulness. But when you consider definitions, be aware that they're hypotheses that embed a point of view. This can be philosophical, political, and/or related to knowledge.

So it's useful to ask: who benefits from this definition? What's their purpose?

If AI is doing the discovery, who is doing the reasoning?


[Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *