If Artificial Intelligence is Like a Cat, What Animal Are Humans?

This is a great way of understanding the difference between artificial intelligence and genuine intelligence, i.e., human intelligence.


Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more integrated in our lives. Beyond Siri, A.I. help is woven into apps that help us find restaurants or a nearby gas station. Cleverbot, an online A.I. chat, allows you to have trivial conversations with a robot. So far, A.I. is clever, but hardly intuitive, but that could soon change with the development of ConceptNet.

ConceptNet is the literal brainchild of an open-source computing project at MIT. Not only is the program smart, but also it has the I.Q. of a four-year-old child — the age when children begin to make more complex inferences. If the MIT team is able to build this intelligence, developments in A.I. could take off at rapid pace.

[A]ssessing intelligence is just as complex as intelligence itself. The same could be said of A.I. While ConceptNet may have the I.Q. of a four-year-old child, does it have the E.Q. of one as well?

Elon Musk has repeatedly predicted doomsday scenarios with the escalation of A.I. developments, but before building a bunker to protect yourself from the robot-calypse, there are some intricacies about I.Q. that need to be considered. Take the age-old intelligence debate between cats and dogs. Dog owners will argue that their pets are smarter, and it’s been proven that canines have the I.Q. of a two-year-old child. But cats have twice the neurons of dogs, which means they have the potential to analyze much more complex problems and make more subtle inferences. That said, cats’ brains have not grown in size since they were domesticated 8,000 years ago, while dogs are much more social and thus have brains that have continued to grow. So who’s smarter?

It’s hard to tell because assessing intelligence is just as complex as intelligence itself. The same could be said of A.I. While ConceptNet may have the I.Q. of a four-year-old child, does it have the E.Q. of one as well? Or, to put it in cat and dog terms, does it think like a cat, but have the potential to relate like a dog?

Looking to the animal world not only may help us build better A.I., but also could help us better understand our future relationship to it. Intelligence is tricky — we hardly understand our own and billions have been spent trying to map our brains. Even if mind-mapping becomes possible, then what? Intelligence is rife with paradoxes. How else can it be explained that both pigeons and monkeys can do the same level of abstract math?

Just how does A.I. learn new information? Microsoft Director of Search Stefan Weitz explains:

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Saying no is hard. These communication tips make it easy.

You can say 'no' to things, and you should. Do it like this.

Videos
  • Give yourself permission to say "no" to things. Saying yes to everything is a fast way to burn out.
  • Learn to say no in a way that keeps the door of opportunity open: No should never be a one-word answer. Say "No, but I could do this instead," or, "No, but let me connect you to someone who can help."
  • If you really want to say yes but can't manage another commitment, try qualifiers like "yes, if," or "yes, after."
Keep reading Show less

Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
Keep reading Show less