Hey, look, it is another philosophical entry
this one is simply if we are intelligent or not
Clarke – Why hello there friend Isaac, you look weak and tired; did you have a bad night?
Isaac – Well Clarke, last night, while writing one of my novels, I started to wonder what would happen if we created an AI that so closely mimicked our intelligence that we needed to stipulate that it should have the same rights as we humans. I was attempting to conceive if we could get those rights.
Clarke – But are they humans? If not, why should they get any rights?
Isaac – We have long determined humanity in absurd and arbitrary methods. We used race and sex and origin. Now, are we going to use type of skin? I contend that all humanity is is based on its intelligence, and nothing more.
Isaac – When we start to consider what exactly is intelligence we need to start by determining what exactly intelligence is at all. Is it the fact that we can distinguish between the leaves of an oak tree and those of a maple? Is it that we can compute vast and great problems with ease (well, some of us can)? Is it that we are always exploring, and finding new answers? What is it that makes us intelligent, and what is it that differentiates us from any other form of intelligence.
Clarke – I think it is all of those reasons that we are intelligent. We can discern, we can adapt, and we can learn. Is it not clear that that alone makes us different from the rest of the animal kingdom, and also from any creatures/machines that we create?
Isaac – Can a dog not learn not to go past a certain point when they get shocked each time? Can a fish not adapt to finding a new food source? I think it is not that clear that everything we have created is somewhat intelligent, as it is able to complex tasks that we give it?
Clarke – My friend, what is it that you are asking exactly?
Isaac – I am asking what is the difference between Artificial and Natural (human) intelligence; more specifically, I am wondering what it is that makes us intelligent at all.
Clarke – Well, go ahead and start questioning, I will attempt to help you with your quandary.
Isaac – Well, I first started to question if it were rules that caused us to be different. If I turn on my computer, the OS programmed by Microsoft tells my computer exactly what to do initially (after the BIOS of course), then, whatever controls I activate cause it to act in various manners and do various things. My computer simply follows a set of logical rules that cause it to do things. While an AI in a game might look intelligent, it simply responds to how I act in the game, even if it is able to learn (DOOM 3 engine) and mimic my movement and techniques. Clearly, it is the case that intelligence, in any manner, is the ability to defeat rules and boundaries. Anything that is intelligent is able to circumvent orders and run on its own.
Clarke – Well, is it not the case that we are forced to follow rules as well, which by your logic would make us not intelligent? When I get up in the morning, I complete my three S’s – s**t, Shower, and Shave – even though these are not necessarily required of me, it is a rule that I do them. Society as a whole would not accept me if I didn’t do them (for the most part). Take it even one step further, what if I decide to climb to the top of the Empire State Building; suppose I chose to jump. Do I fly (I might, if I forget I am falling) or do I fall? I fall because the simple laws of nature dictate that I fall towards the object with the largest field of gravity affecting me – That is the Earth. I contend that there is no difference between these rules and those a computer uses, except that we create the computer rules. If we humans are forced to follow rules, as are the computer programs (though ours are hidden better), we are not intelligent at all.
Isaac – I came to that same position, but then I begin to delve deeper into that problem. Say I tell a computer to complete task A in manner B, the computer MUST complete said task in same manner. The computer can not go around what I program and tell it to do; it is impossible for it to do so. Meanwhile, in humans, we are able to complete task A in any number of manners, even if we are told to do so in manner B.
Isaac – Take this situation: If I get told by my wife to turn the channel on our TV by getting up and doing it (she wants me to get a little exercise or something like that), I can do it in three different manners (off the top of my head): I can use the remote control, I can get up and walk over, or I could yell and make my son do it. If I tell a computer to turn on that TV by walking over (assume it can walk), it has to do so, even if it can find and figure out a better method (discovering that it can, via infra-red, change the channel itself). Clearly, we have this method of being able to make choices about how we do things. If we are able not only to act differently than commanded, and we are also able to conceive of new solutions, it is clear that we are intelligent.
Clarke – Are you stating that it is because we have free will that we are intelligent?
Isaac - Yes I am. Furthermore, not only do I have the power to choose different answers and act on them, I am able to do things to preserve myself and change the outcome. When I program a computer to act in certain ways, it has to act in those manners, there is no choice in it. If I tell my character to jump off of a wall, he does jump off of a wall, regardless of what could happen to him. However, in humanity, we are able to not jump off of that wall, to not act how we are told, and to do what we chose. Yes, I am saying that we are intelligent because of free will.
Clarke – Why is it that you believe that free will is essential for intelligence?
Isaac – Well, as we are both very literary minded people, I simply decided that I should use the dictionary to define intelligence. According to Merrium-Websters, Intelligence is: “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations”. Without free will, we are not able to deal with new or trying situations. Therefore, free will is essential to being intelligent.
Clarke – I would contend that we have no free will. As I have already shown, it is the case that we are unable to do everything we wanted, and that we are restricted in certain manners. However, I believe that we are restricted in all manners. Please consider the following two arguments:
Known – There is a God (assume this for this argument)
Assume – This God is all knowing (that includes the past, present, and now) and infallible
Argument – If God knows what you are going to do and He has to be right, then you must do it. You might seem to have a choice, but by saying ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’, God would be wrong which is not possible. Clearly, we have no free will in this setting. Look at it like this: if God knows we will do A at time B, then we must do A at B, or God would be wrong; there is no free will in that case
Conclusion – With an all knowing God who can not be wrong there is no free will.
Ergo – With no free will (using your argument), we are not intelligent
Clarke – If you do not accept this argument, then the next one must be accepted
Known – We are a product of nature
Assume – Nature causes us to have certain desires
Argument – If nature causes us to act in certain manners (when I am thirsty, I drink. When I am hungry, I eat. Etc.) then it would affect us in all manners. Our biology, evolution, and genetics cause us to act in each and every way that we do. We argue because genetics mad us argumentative, we talk because evolution made us sociable, and the like. Every way I act is because my parents genes prepared me for that. We are a product of our nature, and must act within it. While I might be able to contend that I can hold in my bowl movements (I am sure a psychologist could tell me exactly why I am doing that based on my nature), I have to submit to them eventually.
Conclusion – If nature causes us to do anything at all, then nature causes us to do everything. With nature causing, there is no free will.
Ergo – With no free will (using your argument), we are not intelligent
Clarke – With the previous situations, it is clear that we do not have any form of free will, in fact, it seems that we are programmed and controlled just like the computers that you talk about are. It seems that, yet again, there is no difference between us and computers. With no difference, it is clear that we humans are not intelligent.
Isaac – I came to the same conclusion, so I created a thought experiment to help me settle this once and for all. I came up with what I like to call the ‘Binary Communication Box’. It is as follows:
Assume the following situation:
I am in a box, and people outside of the box are handing me cards that are stamped in a binary (base two) pattern. I have a complex list of instructions on how to respond to these cards. I spit out a result, which to the people on the outside, is correct. They believe I am intelligent. Am I?
Isaac – The main question that this poses is if acting in response to stimuli, and/or acting intelligent really makes you so. I believe that neither do, as responding to stimuli is natural – which you already showed is not intelligent. Furthermore, it is not possible to simply do a task and ergo be smart. If you simply are one part of an assembly line, you are not the car, you are the door making part of the car. You are simply part of an intelligence. This clearly shows that the box is not intelligent.
Clarke – I believe that you are. Is it not that intelligence is created by knowing why you act, but in how you act? Intelligence is doing the right action in the right situation, and nothing more. Regardless of what part in the situation you play, the situation itself is intelligent, and therefore you are part of intelligence. In fact, your computer is intelligent because it is reacting in the right manner.
Isaac – But it is acting in that manner simply because it was told to, not because it knows to. The difference between us humans and the computers is that we can know how to act, or at least figure it out, while the computer has to act in that manner.
Clarke – Yet, as I showed before, we do not have a choice in how we act. In fact, I contend that there is no difference between us and a machine in terms of intelligence.
Isaac – To deal with this argument, I once again chose to look at Merrium-Websters for help. As the first clause of the definition states: “the ability to learn or understand”. This box does not have the ability to learn or understand. It simply shows that it can react properly following the right instructions. Without the learning or understanding, it is not intelligent.
Clarke – I believe that we do not have any proper learning as well, that we are just updated per say. It is clear that we do not act on our own, so why do you believe that we can learn on our own. If somebody updated the book inside of the machine, so that it could deal with new binary input systems, would you say it learned? Would you say it understood? I would say that yes, regardless of the new input, it changed to adapt to the situation, and by the definition you presented, it is therefore intelligent.
Isaac – But humans learn on their own, not via some update.
Clarke – How so? Think of it like this:
If humans find a new problem they have never faced before, what do they do?
They A) ask somebody – B) look it up – or C) attempt to circumvent it
Very rarely will we attempt to do anything dealing with the problem directly by ourselves. If you look at A&B, then you see that we are being updated, though in a more indirect manner. Looking at clause C, it is clear that we will not respond properly if not updated. If you attempt to add a new input method to the box, then it will react in the same manner. If it can not be updated, it is clear that it can not react properly, so it will ignore/circumvent the new method.
Clarke – As I have shown in many different steps as of now, it is clear that humans are either not intelligent, or that we can easily make machines as intelligent as we are. Clearly, it is one or the other. Because I can debate this subject however, clearly shows that I can think. I believe that we are intelligent because we can think. The only issue becomes, that when we make machines that can think as we can, should they be given those same rights. This is back to your initial problem.
Clarke – My answer is pretty simple, I believe that when we make them, they will be no different than humans. Clearly, if they are no different, then they deserve the same rights. End of story.
Isaac – That is the same conclusion I eventually came to. Well Clarke, many thanks, I believe I will go pen a short story now dealing with exactly this (5 Extra Credit points if you can name the story).
Clarke – Well then, tata for now good friend.