Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Much of Natural Intelligence Is Evolved?


I am reading a paper (Albus, 1991)  that says

Natural intelligence, like the brain in which it
appears, is a result of the process of natural selection.

This is sort of true, but misleading. It severely de-emphasizes the contributions of intellectual artifacts-- the "mindware" we install in our minds through learning.  We learn strategies, we learn languages, we learn math, we learn logic, we learn to recognize danger. 

I feel the above quote is about as true as saying that a stone house is the result of geological forces. It's sort of true, in that the stones that make up the house are created through geological forces, but much of what makes the house what it is is the result of cultural forces-- i.e., people shaping and arranging the stones for a certain function. 


References:

Albus, J.S., "Outline for a Theory of Intelligence," IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Vol. 21, No. 3, May/June 1991.

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