Saturday, January 28, 2017

Comment on specialness of intelligence

Comment on universality of computation and the specialness of general intelligence.

Some like Wolfram have already commented on the universality of computation in nature, the principle of computational equivalence.   Those who're opposed to digital physics, often subscribe to dubious notions such as the existence of "TRUE RANDOMNESS" and the existence of physical objects and physical processes with "infinite precision" in their physical manifestation, the physical manifestation of real numbers through natural phenomena.   Something that would basically imply that "Super Tasks" are taking place in nature, something that is highly dubious.

Now while commenting on the universality of computation,  and the issue of general intelligence, Wolfram seemed to imply that there is nothing that made it fundamentally different and special and that might be brought about to technological fruition by some key insight into the nature of intelligence.

I will say that, while I can't entirely provide evidence to refute the claim of lack of specialness, I will point to another process that most can agree does show specialness amongst the phenomena found in nature.  Such that we can see that even if we said two processes are computationally equivalent in complexity and nature of computations, there can be notable difference making one process special, such that computational equivalence does not preclude the possibility of specialness. That is the evolutionary process, we can all see that although the nature of computation is universal and similar in kind across natural objects and phenomena, something like evolution does indeed look special.  

 Evolution can reshape the universe, neither the weather, nor physical erosion, nor the workings of inanimate objects have that property.    We can observe that the evolutionary ratchet creates myriad of solutions, most we can see are truly dead ends(fated to die by many an inevitable natural event), but amongst these there is a drive for increased complexity in a fraction of the paths, this increased complexity opens the path towards dominion of physical processes themselves and survival from most any possible eventuality.

In intelligence we see the Coup De Grace of evolution, it's greatest and final weapon to survive, the designs of the ultimate trait for a survival machine, the means towards the perfection of replication and sustenance of purposeful action.    Not only can intelligence increase survival probability against anything that can be survived, but it also has the potential to generate ever more diverse forms of expression, of art, of science.   Gathering all the solutions not just from other life forms that have existed or exist, but from all possible life forms past present or future, from the platonic realm of all possibilities itself.   As we go up in intelligence we can see the difference, in the nature of behavior and the complexity of output produced.   While say a pack of wolves might say have similar level of complexity and similar types of processes internally, externally their actions will not amount to much.   But look at humanity, it might have taken tens of thousands of years, but as knowledge has accumulated it has interacted with our innate intelligence, and produced and ever expanding growth to the accompanying body of knowledge, and the ability to manipulate nature with ever greater degrees of control. 

We've also seen the production of music, games, movies, books, papers, performances, all manner of works by man.  A rich and ever growing body of diverse works feeding of each other, the very evolution of information itself, replicating in a digital form ever more and changing wildly like a fire, ideas set free.

This is very different in kind from other things happening around, it may be similar in both the nature of the operations and the degree of complexity, but it is not just history that makes it special.   If humans or future humans appeared out of thin air with an advanced culture and art, it matters not that such would lack history, the information content is there, and the richness of the civilization would be there.

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