Five Impossible Things -- Intelligence

Jim Isaak

Intelligence – just us?

  • Humans seem to be intelligent
  • The “Drake” equation provides estimates of how many other intelligent beings may be in the universe
  • # of planets in life supporting zones ...

Of course – how can we tell?

Shoe cartoon implying aliens would not currently find intelligent life on earth

The “Turing Test”

Dilbert cartoon implying his boss is the first human to fail the Turing test


    • WWII computer scientist - “Colossus”
    • Breaking enigma codes
    • Rigorous definition of “computable”
    • Test for Machine Intelligence
    • Two rooms each with a “terminal”
    • If you can't tell which one has the human...
    • The Most Human Human discussion Brian Christian

Convergence (“Incoming”)

Computer complexity growing to match brain capacity (Kurzweil) – 2030 or so

Vinge: Computers that are “awake”

Networks that “wake up”

Cyborg integration to the super human

Bio science improvement of intellect

Technology paths

    • Artificial Intelligence “from scratch”
    • Emulating the brain
    • Learning Systems &/or evolutionary ones
    • Koza, John R., Martin A. Keane and Matthew J. Streeter. Evolving Inventions. Scientific American (February 2003)
    • Patent applied for devices that Koza et al do not understand

Biological paths

    • Chemicals that 'improve' things (prozac ..)
    • Rewiring or other intervention
    • Implants (why just 20/20 vision?) -
    • memory, calculator, etc. (Cyborg)
    • Genetic Engineering – wouldn't you like your kids to “have the chance”?

The God Factor

    • Humans shouldn't play God
    • (you may recall Eden and Babel)
    • God may not let humans play god
    • Then again, She might
    • It can't be done
    • But either God or Evolution did it ...


Analogy to astronomical “black hole”

Has an “Event Horizon” – it is impossible to see “inside” that horizon, light does not escape

If a super intelligent entity is created, and it takes over it's own evolution, where it goes will be “beyond our vision”

TransHuman – the next replicator

What's next? …

    • It may be a modified version of us
    • It may be an augmented version
    • Or it could be something new
    • Will we recognize it (human rights)
    • And will they recognize us

Confidence factors

Many countries have the diverse technologies – and fewer regulations

Recognition & notoriety for the scientists and engineers who 'make it happen'

There is money to be made, at least for a while

Delightful questions

    • Will we know it when we see it?
    • Why aren't we considering Azmov's rules
    • No harm to humans, …
    • Do we have to be paranoid?
    • News media and other fiction want a story
    • Reality may well be much more bland
    • A new meaning to “haves and have-nots”