Archive for August 22nd, 2022

August 22, 2022

What is intelligence?

by Neil Rickert

People often talk about intelligence, but it is hard to say what it is. We measure IQ (Intelligence Quotient), but it isn’t entirely clear what that is measuring. This is illustrated by the Flynn Effect, which shows that IQ seems to be increasing over time. Some people have suggested that IQ is sensitive to culture, and I’m inclined to agree with that.

So what is intelligence? In this post, I shall give some of my own opinions. I don’t think there is a consensus answer to the question.

Biology and intelligence

I am inclined to think of intelligence as biological.

Take a pot plant on your window sill, and rotate it around. The plant will begin to change its growth patterns toward the new direction of light. The pot plant appears to have the ability to change its behavior so as to adapt to changes in the environment. Mechanical objects don’t do this.

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