Define Intelligence here!

Add your own definition/opinion!

I start with one (computer-science-related, ComputerGoProgramming):

  • (1) "Intelligence is not, at least not only, making the right decision."
  • (2) "Intelligence is the ability to draw higher-order conclusions from elementary facts and (very) little data." [1][3]
  • (3) "Intelligence is good taste regarding ideas."

Velobici: Perhaps we might ask "is intelligence an evaluation function?" Even if the premise is true it may not be a computable function. In addition, the function may have numerous discontinuities.

If intelligence is not an evaluation function...then what is it (what can it be?) (evaluation function...a function that allows one to assign valuation to an outcome and thereby choose among the outcomes on a basis that can be explained rationally to other...not hunches,or guesses.)

Bill: Intelligence is the ability to do something well that you have never done before. -- (Not original, I'm afraid.) [2]

Velobici: To do something well, the first time you do it, (never done before) is intelligence? We can probably rule out all physical activities immediately, nearly all require practice...babies even need practice to learn how to nurse and that is an innate response. Any examples?

ilan: I consider intelligence as the ability to refrain from contributing to this discussion.

impu1se: Oh no! ilan, I guess we've both failed by your definition.

eng60340: ability to synergize and internalise new information so that you can perform a task or related task after learning it once.

tderz: eng60340's definition sounds very good to me. Is it synergize or energize?

  • Statement (1) in above [1] sounds like an attempt for a definition of "The Rationale".
  • Statement (2) in above [1] is a very important feature of "The Unconscious".

I am convinced that most decision are taken by "The Unconscious" and rationalized by the conscious afterwards. Just read an article (NRC 2.4.05), where they state that

  • "you should take important, complicated decision simply by your feeling (unconscious)" (buying a house, leave job, to marry or not ...; of course, inform yourself, sleep a night over it, give The Unconscious some time to handle) and
  • only let small, easy, unimportant, fact driven decisions be handled by "The Rationale".

Bill's part [2] "... never done before ..." is very important for the distinction of (only, book) knowledge and "the capability to do".
So called "expert systems" describe the ability to do and are comprised of a knowledge usually acquired over many years (for humans), comprising facts, heuristics, exceptions, associations and fuzzy feelings inside and outside the field. They are extremely difficult to program with simple "if -> then/else" structures. (I am not a programmer).

Here comes the catch: If I use the unconscious as an example for an expert system and say that statement (2) is true, and also want to use Bill's definition "... never done before ...", then
a very good expert could possibly be non intelligent acc. to that definition (because he knows too much and will have done related things before).

A good expert might say "I do not know" (or "it depends") but "does" and afterwards it seems it was the right decision.
A less experienced expert (think of a fresh manager) might say "I know exactly" (means "I am entitled to an opinon as everyone else"), then does also, often with the known consequences (later, new reorganization, promotion away, golden handshake etc.). This one was intelligent.

Management prefers (in some areas) rotation of managers. This means that you are transferred away from your technical field of expertise to another one, were you can concentrate on pure managerial and great overview skills. Again, in the combined definitions of above (as I read it) you therewith become more intelligent by knowing less. (I hope that is provocative enough, get your daily [ext], opportunism pays well.)

tderz: A good definition of intelligence should be a wide, broad one, encompassing all kinds of intelligence (the more known analytical, mathematical ones, as well as social, musical, motorical etc. ones).

WIKIPEDIA (En) gives: "Intelligence is a general mental capability that involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn."

I find this definition much to narrow. It seems to exclude important features as emotional intelligence (EQ) and motorical intelligence. Confer with Gardner's Theory of "Multiple Forms of Intelligence" or "multiple intelligences" proposed by Howard Gardner (1983) and David Goleman's very poular book "Emotional Intelligence" (with > 1000 footnotes).

I give it a try:

"Intelligence is the ability to understand (new) complex ideas (1), to adapt effectively to a (new) environment (2), to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought."

(1) covers the usual mathematical stuff, (2) also social, emotional and motorical intelligence. By adding the word new (to a wording I found on a Wikipedia link) I emphasize the difference between

  • recall of learned stuff and
  • capability of adaptation (intelligence).

Still I am quite convinced that much, so-called "intelligence" is the product of learning.
Think about it - how often can you really encounter new stuff? This is the nurture-aproach in the nurture-or-nature? - discussion, which, of course has much political source & impact. [ext]

ilan: In the past, people tried to reduce intelligence into a single number IQ, but this notion has been abandoned by psychiatrists, except for extreme cases (measuring mental retardation). What I find interesting is that academic psychologists have not attempted to reduce intelligence into a much more meaningful number, namely income. I would venture to guess that the reason is that most academics think they are smarter than everyone else, yet underpaid, so would end up looking bad. This is not a frivoulous point, because if you look at IQ and other similar tests, and you know more than the people who wrote them, you come to understand that the real test is to think like the person who wrote it, which is consistent with the human behaviour of classifying those who agree with you as being intelligent. In particular, in IQ tests or SAT tests, if you come up with a better or alternate response, well, you're out of luck, because they're multiple choice and there's no way for you to register your creativity. For example, there are those ridiculous "guess the next number in the sequence" type questions which almost always have, as best answer, writing in the margin: "I suppose that you are looking for the lowest Kolmogorov complexity of the sequence, but that depends on how it is defined, and even so, off-hand, I don't see how you could come up with a proof for which one these alternatives generates the minimal expression without doing a huge exhaustive computation."

Bill: Those questions are ridiculous.

On the other hand, I would guess that most business people think about money in much the same way as go players think of their ranking. For example, you have the Fortune 500. In fact, prize money is also used as an official ranking in some sports such as golf, if I am not mistaken. It seems to me that this measure could also be used for professional go, but for amateur go you would have to use a reversed scale based on non go related earnings (who makes the least is the best).

tderz: Multiple choice tests are indeed funny if used wrongly. I found it always intriguing, that when I took a Go multiple choice test (e.g. "Test your Rating" Ishi Press) and would get e.g. 10% right as a 10 kyu and 50% right as a 5kyu, whereas a bloody beginner would get his/her 20% (= 1 out of 5) straight. So the 50kyu monkey gets a better result than the 10kyu human. Concerning the Fortune 500: those who are on the list did perhaps not enjoy life as most in the middle class. Indeed, they (those selfmade persons) must be striving so much for economic success (until a heard attack) that they'll say on their deathbed "I wish I had spent more time in the company".
But mind the second generation or anyone in old-money-genealogy (completely inverse).

[3] Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises. -- Samuel Butler

Discussion about this page

Where is the Go content in this page? DrStraw

tderz: It's a link of EquatingGoSkillWithIntelligence. You could also create a link to Emanuel Lasker's famous quote.

Intelligence last edited by on May 25, 2009 - 11:38
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