The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

What is Intelligence?

What is "intelligence"? The Turing test was based on the assumption by Newell and Simon that intelligence is about solving problems. Yet, solving problems is nothing special: finding problems is far more difficult. Given enough time and resources, most people would solve any problem. But very few people could come up with the problem in the first place.

For example, very few people wonder why it gets colder as you climb up a mountain. After all, you are moving closer to the sun, which is the main source of heat. It should obviously get warmer as we get closer to the sun. Very few people ever wonder.

Once they are told, they will eventually find the solution to the paradox. All that one has to do is to think about it, consult a book or two, call up a friend. As the philosophers of Artificial Intelligence correctly said, the solution is out there and it is just a matter of "searching" for it.

Once somebody formulates a problem, most people can solve it. We use professional "problem solvers" called "scientists" because we are normally busy doing other things.

The real intelligence is in formulating the problem, in realizing that something we take for granted is not explained by our knowledge.

Artificial Intelligence initially missed the point: somebody who can answer all the questions is not very intelligent, it just has nothing better to do. It resembles a machine more than a human.

The Turing test is not about how human a machine is, but how mechanical a human is. The Turing test tests a human, not a machine.

We can certainly build a machine that will  answer all questions. But that has little to do with our “intelligence”. That only has to do with "symbolic processing". The real intelligence test would be: can the machine "ask" the questions? Can we build a machine that will ask all the questions that an intelligent human would ask in a given situation? Can a machine "wonder"? Can a machine be the one asking questions and rating the answers in Turing’s test?


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