Intelligence is one's capacity to predict the future


I've been using this definition a lot, lately. Can't remember who told me first or where I saw it first. Wikipedia says Intelligence "has been defined in many different ways such as in terms of one's capacity for logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, creativity and problem solving". But without future accomplishments, how can you measure any of it?

As far as my limited intelligence can tell, the brain ( <-- many important videos there ) is still the most intelligent machine we know of. But it has a purpose. And one purpose only: generating movement. If you don't understand this, go ahead and watch the video!

Hitting a baseball is a very simple instance of that. It has to capture an image of a ball coming at a quite good speed, calibrate every muscle in the body to twist in a way to hit that ball with maximum power and give the hitter enough time to run across a big field before someone else brings the ball back. It generated a lot of movement and so complex ones we can barely reproduce them with robots. It's making small predicting calculations all the time, from what the pitcher might be thinking to actually predicting the ball's path after watching its movements, to dodging each base into a home run.

And how does that extrapolates to logic, memory, emotional knowledge, etc?

Being such a complex machine, it ended up malfunctioning. Like any other evolution mutation. Most are not useful. This was. (I'm not sure this is what happened, but I'm pretty sure it could have and at least something similar did): By abstracting the nature, we were able to predict when a tree would be fruitful and then start migrating places with more food supply. This brain malfunction would then be naturally selected, which would be more plentiful than of those who couldn't find food. Regular Darwinism takes place.

Your brain is malfunctioning (this is no animated gif!)

Your brain is malfunctioning (this is no animated gif!)

Memory helps planning, creativity and problem solving. Those are all tools to shape the environment by predicting how those tools will behave. Communication forms the collective memory and allows the exchange of ideas. It's the obvious humankind link (and it's also its biggest gap). It's so difficult to predict how to better communicate with any other single human that's probably the one that takes the most out of any brain. Processing all that data ain't a simple task, but all that's just so we can better tell what's next.

Emotional knowledge is just an attempt to keep the brain healthy. Bad emotions are reflections of unhealthy behaviour the brain identifies... But the brain isn't flawless and emotions are often wrong or too short-termed protection triggers. What? You think the brain is flawless? Some optical illusions are just one tiny demonstration of how flawed our brains are (another cool video here). Recent news bring another one: disorders. Depression (asap videos, yay), in that case. Emotions might be good indications on when your brain might start (or already have started) to malfunction. So knowing your emotions will lead to better predicting your own health state.

From that list, self awareness is probably the most difficult to extrapolate into my favourite intelligence definition there. How does that help predicting next events? Is it even a sign of intelligence? I don't know. You tell me. :P

Found this funny and insightful cartoon searching google images for

Found this funny and insightful cartoon searching google images for "awareness". ^_^

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The Grid - Artificial Intelligence making web design