Re: How Robots Will Steal Your Job

Programmer Dude wrote:


How do you know that the dog is communicating with you? Answer: you don't *know*. You can only guess, based on what the dog does when you do <this>, or what the dog does when you do <that> (for suitably complex interpretations of <this> and <that>).

I didn't want to give the dolphins an unfair advantage.

Sure. That's because we are good at recognising intelligence in humans, but not good at recognising intelligence in non-humans. Is this not self-evident?

Perhaps it's because we're not as intelligent as we like to think.

That is certainly one possible explanation. I don't think it's necessarily the most likely.

I am not sure that I have understood that sentence correctly. If I /have/ understood you correctly, you're wrong, so please explain what you really meant.
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Richard Heathfield wrote:

Actually, on this one I'd go so far as to stake my life on it.
It's self-evident. She goes, sits by the door and looks directly at me. She wants to go out. When she gets out, she immediately pees. Thus it seems evident she *needed* to go out.
When she positions herself by where the treats are kept, looks at me, looks at the cupboard, looks at me, looks at the cupboard... The message seems unmistakable. (It also helps to know about dogs and similar creatures and role of eyes and eye contact.)
When she comes up to me with a toy and then plays keep away if I reach for the toy. Another message: let's play.
When we walk, she often has clear ideas about which way she'd like to go. She communicates this by (again) looking in the desired direction and tugging on the leash.

Only if one is convinced that intelligence is so different from one species to another as to make it unrecognizable. I see no reason why that should be the case, and I do see reason why it wouldn't.

Possibly. The more reasonable answer--IMO obviously--is that it's just not there. Clearly we see this differently:

What IS "necessarily the most likely" then?

Since you were apparently more interested in telling me I was wrong than explaining what interpretation you got, I have no way to answer your complaint.
I'll try other words to say the same thing: The human mind is capable of vast imagination. Clearly you, not an animal expert (possibly not even a pet owner?) can imagine such things. Do you think you are unique in this ability? If you can postulate alternate intelligence, do you really believe no one else has? And that it was no one else in a better position than you or I to investigate it?
Consider that we all share a planet and common evolutionary line. We are all carbon-based lifeforms. In many cases, we are all mammals. In some cases, we are close evolutionary cousins. We can eat many of the same foods and we inhabit many of the same ecospheres.
I see far more in common with animals than not, so--as I've said many times now--I find it *far-fetched* (not, repeat not, impossible) that their intelligence system is so vastly different from us as to be completely undetectable.
Question Richard: have you ever owned a pet or known an animal more than in passing? I mean like for several years of close contact.
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Programmer Dude wrote:

And you might still be wrong.
But if the dog /is/ communicating with you, then it is (presumably) intelligent.
<snip>

But much of what we think of as "intelligence" or "intelligent behaviour" is merely human behaviour. For example, the ability to speak fluent and meaningful English is certainly evidence that one is intelligent (to a greater or lesser degree!). But the absence of fluent English is not evidence of non-intelligence. Ask any Russian (in Russian, of course!).

Clearly.
No explanation is /necessarily/ the most likely. A moment's thought should clarify this for you.

That seems like a reasonable retort, so I'll try to explain what I think you meant. Taken at face value, you seem to say that a very intelligent creature would be able to recognise intelligence in a creature of another species. I think this is wrong-headed.

I don't postulate it. I merely refuse, at present, to rule it out as easily as you seem prepared to do.

I don't think it's necessarily the case that we are able to recognise intelligence in other species (although we'd probably take the hint if a non-human species developed nuclear weapons!).
<snip>

Yes.
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In the interests of efficiency and perhaps wrapping this up, this contains responses to four separate posts, all by the illustrious...
Richard Heathfield:

At the very least, not intentionally (if for no other reason than I have sufficient confidence in my point of view to not need tricks). However I would disagree I'm extending anything. (How *does* one extend squirrel scientists and mathematical cows? :-)
Cows and squirrels aside, I'd say the idea that intelligence would be utterly unrecognizable to people looking for it IS a bit extreme.
Consider that we do share many traits with animals. Social grouping, heirarchies of position, territoriality and many basic emotions (joy, fear, anger). We obviously understand them well enough to train them and make use of them. Many of them form family groups and raise young. Many share the same five senses and use the same communication "bands" as we.
One might say they "act" like humans, but I suspect it's more likely there simply are traits that are very universal to intelligence.

Funny, then, that recently you've done so several times. Perhaps you do it unwittingly. :-|

Animal biologists apparently consider it rare and unusual.

In light of your concern about "shyster" tricks, I assume you're not attributing any of these qualities to me? I assure you I am neither cynical nor dismissing. I've spent an adult lifetime in fascination with animals and have gotten to know as many as I could.

No, I mean that we've never found anything suggesting a symbology or abstract language (another form of symbology) in animals. My opinion is that *any* symbology would be distinquishable from random noise (pretty much by definition).
SETI's work *depends* on this perception.

It isn't a matter of looking for *good* books--a matter *strictly* of *personal* opinion--but of looking for books at all (not a matter of personal opinion).

I agree the possibility exists (never said otherwise), but I consider it a very small possibility. I am convinced intelligence creates order. Order is noticable.

What was that about extending an argument into silliness? (-:

Throughout history? Considerable. MANY person-years by people **trained** in animal biology. Many more by interested observers. Not to mention thousands of years of close association by average people. That's a fair amount of data.

If we are so limited by our human imagination, how is it we invented quantum physics, higher mathematics and computer science? These have nothing to do with human experience, yet people seem able to advance and work successfully in these fields.

You now agree we know more about animals than we do about planets?

People spend a lifetime and career studying this stuff. If you--an armchair analyst--can dream of this, how can you imagine people with training can not?
And animals do engage in marking activities. Many use urine to mark their territory. Bears and cats scratch trees to do the same. So we see crude signs of "documentation", but no sophisticated ones.

(Not extending anything there, are you? :-) I'm suggesting animals are *probably* not highly intelligent.

Considering information theory and the kinds and numbers of minds studying this stuff, no, it doesn't. Not at all. Order is order.

We've looked everywhere there is to look: nests, dens, territorys, on their bodies, in the trees, under the ground,... what's left?

If I *described* your ideas as infantile or idiotic, you would not consider that an insult? I have an experiment for you: ask twenty people that you *trust* if calling an adult's behavior childish is an insult. I'd bet you get twenty identical answers.

INCREDIBLY unlikely. We *know* animals communicate with each other, we therefore *know* animals are capable of some form of communication.
Consider:
I issue a command, my dog obeys. Communication.
She wants to go out. She sits by the door, looks over her shoulder at me until I respond. Once out, she pees immediately. Communication.
She's outside and wants to come in. She barks. One bark issued at two- to three-minute intervals (if I don't respond). If I open the door for her *before* this, she just looks at me. If I open the door *after* this, she comes right in. Communication.
She stands by where her treats are kept, looks at me, looks at the cupboard, looks at me, looks at the cupboard.... "I want a treat." Communcation.
There comes a point when having an open mind is silly. I can't quite *prove* I'm not a brain in a vat being fed stimulus by mad scientists, and that all of "this" doesn't exist. I can't prove that you aren't a computer program rather than a British Chap. I can't *prove* that Pluto isn't brie-ish.
But those are pretty silly points of view, and there's no reason to give them much credence (except, perhaps, as mental exercise).

Of course she is. Her intelligence is unmistakable, and that's kind of my point. We do indeed recognize intelligence in animals, but it seems rather rudimentary. They are--at best--permanently childlike.

If you're smart enough to know the difference, how can you imagine that people with training are not?

The ability to use a *language* is certainly evidence of intelligence. The ability to use a *given* language is just that: the ability to use a given language. Nothing more.

That's an answer....

... and that seems an insult (or gratuitously snide remark at best).
Put your money where your fingers are: what do you think is the most *likely* explanation for the apparent lack of higher intelligence in our animal friends?

Your interpretation is basically correct. The only aspect you missed is that we do consider some extremely non-human parts of reality. That is, we--many of us--ARE able to think "outside the box". Thus there seems little reason to insist none of us can.

How about if they developed just tools? How about if they developed commerce, trade and an economy? How about if they had mathematics and language? How about if they had history, liturature and art? How about if they had government and law? How about building on the work of previous generations?
I consider these to be likely universal traits of any intelligence. If you would claim these are all exclusively human, would you claim no other intelligent species in the *universe* would develop them?

Care to elaborate? Was it a goldfish? (-:
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Programmer Dude wrote:

Fair enough.

One doesn't, but one can sometimes extend one's opponent's position (i.e. push it to an extreme, where it becomes indefensible). If you do this cleverly (and dishonourably, IMHO), the opponent may not notice, and so effectively accept the bait and try to defend the extended position - a hopeless task.

Note that I have not claimed that animal intelligence is certainly unrecognisable to humans. I have, however, pointed out that it is possible that it exists and /has not/ been recognised, perhaps because we are too willing to associate intelligence principally with human characteristics.
<snip>

No, I haven't.

That isn't possible. An insult is a deliberate act (or, at least, if you think differently, then we are arguing over terminology again). I have not insulted you.

No, I think you just haven't thought it through.

That is to your credit.

Quite so.

Corey Murtagh pointed out a flaw in this perception.

But intelligence /is/ a matter of opinion. We have yet to agree on a definition!

Perhaps animal intelligence simply doesn't exist, perhaps you're wrong and intelligence needn't create order, or perhaps the kind of order we look for isn't the kind of order intelligent animals are interested in creating.

I was merely outlining a few common human characteristics. Remember that we adjudge humans to be intelligent. Presumably, then, the above counts as intelligent behaviour, for humans. No wonder animals are not considered intelligent. They're not dumb enough.

In other words, you don't know. Hint: even if everyone on the planet did nothing but observe wildlife for the next N years (for large N), we still wouldn't have discovered all the species on the planet yet, let alone managed to assess their levels of intelligence. (I had put "the next 100 years", but it was a finger-in-the-air guess, so I changed it to N; but I'd /guess/ at N >= 100.)

They have quite a lot to do with human experience. Mathematics is what mathematicians do. Physics is what physicists do. Computer science is what computer scientists do. It's very much a human thing.

No. We know a reasonable amount (but not all that much) about planets. We know far less about animal psychology.

"Training" is, all too often, the passing on of preconceived ideas, ideas which might be wrong. Can you cite any studies in this area?

It is interesting that we feel able to categorise the purpose of these marking activities, because we don't really have the faintest idea what's going on in an animal's mind when it performs such activities.

No. I used the word "if" to indicate that I was seeking clarification.

I can probably agree with that, to a large extent, too, but I don't set the level of probability quite as high as you appear to, judging from your contributions to this thread. Animals are /probably/ intelligent, but /probably/ not highly intelligent, but the probability is not 0.9+ or anything like it, IMHO.

One creature's order is another creature's chaos. A (hypothetical) intelligent rabbit might be aghast at the destruction of a highly-ordered and well-built warren by an apparently bozo bulldozer-driver. For such a rabbit, the fact that a (to us, highly ordered) 20-storey building will be erected on the site is of no consequence whatsoever. What matters to him is the loss of /his/ order, and - reasoning your way - he would have to conclude that man is not intelligent, because he destroys order rather than creating it.

The planet is huge, and creatures are manifold and varied in appearance and behaviour. We have not looked everywhere.

I would disagree with the description. I would try hard not to be offended by it, since I don't think you would say such a thing without a very good reason. And neither did I.

Yes, probably, but if they are people I trust, then they are likely to be people who can think clearly enough to realise that there /is/ a difference between calling an adult a child and calling an adult's behaviour childish.

Fairly unlikely, I'll grant you. But not /incredibly/ unlikely.

Sounds like a sign of intelligence to me.
<snip>

I'm not convinced that we are anywhere near that point.

Well, you are talking about a dog, after all. Not God's greatest gift to Mensa, /and yet/ you acknowledge your dog's intelligence. If dogs are intelligent, it is reasonably likely that more intelligent species exist.

See above. "None so blind as those who will not see", and all that.

Fine.
That's true modulo the previous statement.

It's the only true answer I can think of. No explanation /need/ (necessarily) be the most likely explanation.

It was an attempt to get you to think clearly about what I said. I guess it failed. :-(

8> *likely* explanation for the apparent lack of higher intelligence in

Ignorance. But whether that ignorance is on our part, on the part of the animals, or both, is beyond my ken.
<snip>

If they had these things, we might reasonably guess at their intelligence. But the absence of such things, or our inability to recognise such things when we see them, is no evidence of lack of intelligence.
Analogy time again: take FLT, which was eventually proved by Andrew Wiles a few years ago. He proved it by proving a conjecture from which, if he succeeded, FLT follows. But had he /disproved/ the conjecture, this would not disprove FLT.
Same kind of idea here.

I don't claim that.

In my childhood home, we fed a cat (nobody /owns/ a cat) for a great number of years. At least a decade (unusually long for cats? I don't know, but this cat was around when I was seven or eight and still alive long after I left for college. Yes, various small animals too, including goldfish, again as a child.
Nowadays, just the peacock. (And yes, it has shown considerable ability to learn and to adapt its behaviour.)
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Richard Heathfield wrote:

Understood. We appear to disagree on the likelyhood of intelligence "B" being unrecognizable to intelligence "A". A large part of the reason I find it less likely is I do NOT agree we associate it with principally human characteristics. Further, we recognize rudimentary intelligence, emotion and behavior in animals, so it seems improbable we would fail to recognize higher levels.

{I will point out some things below for your consideration.}

Between an untrained and a trained opinion, I'll take trained.
I would dispute that parenting is considered altruism, for one thing. Offspring, after all, perpetuate your own DNA. You have a vested interest in protecting your young. Altruism is usually defined as acting without regard for your interests.

It would seem--despite having "thought it through" for a good chunk of my adult life--that if my opinion differs it somehow indicates I have not. {This is what I mean by insult. It is implicit ad hominem that suggests I am ignorant or unthinking.}
{FWIW, a very civilized way to debate and reduce implicit ad hominem is to try to eliminate the pronoun "you" as much as possible. "I think..." "I feel..." "I've read..." are good ways to debate.}

No, he pointed out that the *hydrogen* *band* might not be the best place for long distance communication, because the reason it's so quiet is that it's an absorption band. Nothing about symbologies.
(And, FWIW, SETI is searching a fairly close region, so the degree of absorption may not be an issue.)

Part of what I'm saying is that it isn't a matter of opinion, that it is possible to define--or at least describe--it OUT of human context.
And perhaps--particularly in light of the groups this is in--we would better spend our time seeing if we can hammer out a definition of intelligence.

I agree with the first two clauses; I disagree order has a "kind" (that makes it unrecognizable). Order is order.

Not for the reasons listed above.

No, it counts as human social behavior. They are byproducts of our humanity.
BTW, just for fun, there's a few flaws in the original statement. Animals DO "beat up old ladies"--or the equivalent. Young males take on older males to become the new leader, and preditors select the weaker (older, iller) prey (for much the same reason punks prey on the weak--fear of failure/retribution).
And animals that move, move at any speed they like with no regard for the concept of "posted limits". That is, they don't move slower than they can or want to.
As for voting, I suspect that if pack members don't like a self- elected ruler, they "vote" him out of "office" (pity we don't do the same sometimes).

Depends on your definition of "know". For absolute certainty? No. Good enough to make some estimates and assessments? Yes. If they are later proved wrong, we update the perceptions. At least it gives us something to go on for now.

{That's the (slightly) insulting use of language. If there is info to be shared, just share it, don't pretend I'm clueless.}

True, however many--even most--of these many species are very much like ones we *have* studied in detail. It's certainly *possible* that there lurks around the next corner a species that will blow our mind and make us re-evaluate all that we thought we knew.
I just tend to doubt it. Ants are ants. The species of ants we have studied are all fairly similar and ant-like. Bears are all pretty bear-like. Canines and cats, likewise, and so on.

They are *practiced* by humans, but this misses the point. (If the exact same sciences were practice by aliens or cows, would they still be human?) Consider sociology and psychiatry. These sciences deal *explicitly* with the human experience. The *subject* of study (opposed to the *studier*) is human. I am talking about the subject.
Quantum physics is *notable* for being counter-intuitive: that is, *entirely* outside human experience. Computer science is really just a domain of math, and...
Math is an almost entirely abstract science. Many believe it is the choice for putative communication with aliens, *because* it is so abstract. As I said earlier, once you invent the concepts of "1" and "2" and "plus" and "equals", 1+1=2 is true *universe-wide*.

I'm sure any animal trainer would disagree. I have at home two excellent books that go into a great deal of detail about dogs' minds as well as a video by a top Hollywood animal trainer. These all reference training techniques that *depend* on our knowledge of how the animals in question behave.
Regardless of what we may NOT know about animals, we do know a great deal about them--how can we not? They have been our partners, prey, friends and servants a VERY long time.

Let's say that's so (I find it cynical, but what the heck). Even so, there are times when training is good and the ideas right. In view of our long history of animals, doesn't that seem to leave room for valid discovery if there were anything to discover?

Go to any library. Go to the animal studies section and browse. It may change your mind about how ignorant scientists are. In particular, I think you'd find them well aware of the dangers of anthropomorphizing.

{Language again. We don't "feel free".} We come to conclusions based on study. We observe, we theorize, we test what we can. There is a great deal of peer review in the sciences, and very little that is bogus survives for long.

Based on our consistent observations, I'd say we have--at least--a faint idea. If not, how is it that our training techniques work so well?

(Yes. FTR, I'd put it above 75% and probably close to the 90s.)

Care to name a number? I'd say we *know* them to be intelligent for some definition of intelligent. The question is: are any of them at, close to, or above, our level?

Utterly irrelevant. The point is that *both* the warren AND the building are *instantly* recognizable as ordered, non-natural systems. There is no question some creature created each. The building, obviously, is a great deal more ordered than the warren.

My reasoning has nothing to do with destroying one order in favor of another, but with the ability to create order at all AND with the level of that order.
By the way, we're talking about symbology systems, not buildings.

I ask again: considering the above enumeration, what's left?

Will you then agree it was an insult?

Both are insults, and I suggested you ask your 20 friends if calling an adult's *behavior* childish is an insult. You seem to agree that they would agree.
Do you?
CS> Even my dog and I [communicate]. | RH> How do you know that the dog is communicating with you? RH> Answer: you don't *know*. | CS> Actually, on this one I'd go so far as to stake my life on it. | RH> And you might still be wrong.

We'll have to disagree. I'd put the odds at 99.9+%. There is really no mistaking it. I cited a number of examples. Given the examples of (apparently) clear communication I supplied last post, what alternatives can you supply that fit the situation?
Also...

Yes, animals are intelligent. I think there's no disputing that. It's the *level* of intelligence under discussion here. But distraction aside, if we know animals communicate, why is it only "fairly unlikely" my dog does not communicate with me?

Such as, perhaps, elephants and cetaceans. The question is how intelligent are they and is there a significant difference between them and us.

Are you suggesting *everyone* else is blind (except you)?

{Imagine for argument that it is you who are wrong. Then it would be me thinking perfectly clearly and you not.}
{Perhaps it is wiser to leave off ALL ad hominem implications and simply deal with data, observations and ideas.}

So do we just give up? Or is it better to decide on something that seems to fit the data and allow for the possibility of being wrong (which we can fix later)?

Can you postulate a real situation where these cannot be recognized? And it IS evidence if we find that these things *are* a byproduct of intelligence.

A huge difference, however, is that all the observed data agrees with FLT. That is, you can plug numbers into x^n + y^n = z^n (for n > 2) all day long and never get an equality. If anything, this would *seem* to bolster *my* point: the observed data very strongly suggests a conclusion, but *absolute* proof is absent.
Regardless of the lack of 100.00000% certainty, the data does strongly suggest a conclusion, and--in the absense of competing data--is likely enough to use for a working theory.

Then how can those traits be uniquely human?
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[random snippage of points I don't consider important enough for either of us to waste our time on - look how long the damn thing is anyway!]
Programmer Dude wrote:

Yes, we do.

Yes, I know you don't agree on that point.

Here, I must disagree with you. I don't agree that we /do/ recognise rudimentary intelligence in animals. What we do recognise is something-or-other that you choose to label "rudimentary intelligence", but in fact we can't know that that's what it is.

Please cite a trained opinion, then.

I disagree that /I/ have a vested interest in protecting my young. I protect my young because I love them, not because I think I will somehow benefit economically from their continuing to remain alive. (In fact, they cost me a huge amount, and any parent will agree with that.) The whole "my own DNA" thing is laughable; people don't have children in order to perpetuate DNA. Until very recently in human history, people had never even heard of DNA, and yet they continued to have children even so.

I don't think you are ignorant or unthinking. The context has gone, but I seem to recall that I was talking about a specific point that I thought you hadn't thought through, and I was certainly not suggesting that you do not think things through in general. But if you wish to be offended, I can't stop you. At least I didn't accuse you of lying.

That sounds reasonable, although eliminating "I" would probably do wonders for the debate too. The only problem with omitting personal pronouns is that it can sometimes make sentences sound very stilted.

It would be interesting to see the attempt, but it is IMHO doomed by humanity's built-in human context to everything we do.

It's trivial to hammer out a definition of intelligence. The problem is getting a definition that is universally acceptable to /all/ intelligent creatures. And we don't yet know who or what they are.

Here are four whatevers. Please identify which of them is ordered and which is not, and explain what makes you think it's ordered.
(If you use a non-proportional font, you are more likely to spot any existing patterns.)
Number 1
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Number 2
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Number 3
************** ******* * ******** **** * **** ******** ***** **** **** ** ************* * ** **** *** *** ***** **** ****** **** *** **** ** *
Number 4
******** ********* *** ********** * ************ ********* ****** ** *

No, of course not, but we have inside information, don't we? To an outside observer, those activities constitute fairly typical human behaviour.

So what constitutes intelligent behaviour for humans? Is it, in fact, the very kind of behaviour which we don't typically expose to the outside world? Is not our intelligence, at root, an internal phenomenon? And does this not suggest that animal intelligence might also be an internal phenomenon?

I don't think you're clueless, and nobody reading this thinks I think that, including you. I don't consider my usage of the word "hint" to convey an insult, although I do accept that some people do use it like that.

But would we /recognise/ those sciences, as practised by aliens or cows? Quite possibly not.

And yet we are hamstrung by symbology, and by our existing knowledge.
I quote Ian Stewart: "Suppose that in the summer of 1975 an astronomer had recorded what might or might not be a message from a source that might or might not be natural, a series of binary blips which when translated into decimal turned out to be the number 4.669201609... repeated over and over again. The scientific world would have expressed some disappointment that the signal wasn't 3.141592653... because it would have stretched the imagination to argue that [pi] was just a coincidence. But might it be some other significant number? They would hunt through their tables of basic mathematical constants, such as the base e of natural logarithms, the golden number, Euler's constant, and the square root of two: no joy. In growing disappointment they would dig out more recondite numbers, such as Catalan's constant or the volume of the smallest hyperbolic 3-manifold... No, there's nothing significant about 4.669201609. The astronomers must have found a natural source, a periodic vibration of some distant neutron star, the radiation from a black hole. However, had the same signal been received in 1976..."
Mathematics is /not/ universal, at least, not all in one go. Mathematical knowledge has to be acquired, and that takes time. Also, just because we think addition is a good "in" to mathematics, that doesn't mean that other species would agree.

Does that mean "no"?

The dangers of anthropomorphising are neither here nor there (in this discussion, at least). The problem is quite the opposite - that we /require/ animals to display human-intelligence characteristics before we are prepared to grant them recognition of native-intelligence, and that's what I think is so wrong-headed.

I'm not convinced.

We have built an empirical model that seems to work. We can continue to build on that model, adjusting it here and there where it doesn't /quite/ work, but we have no real justification for claiming that it explains the real world.

Empiricism is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

FTR, I would not be prepared to put a number on it, but if I were, it would be much lower than that.

No, because I think it would be silly to do so. We just don't know.

We are most unlikely ever to know that, IMHO.

If you don't find the analogy helpful, let's drop it. In any case, I hope I've dealt with the point upreply, with my "whatever" diagrams.

Other nests, other dens, other territories, other bodies, other trees, other ground. And even in the places we /have/ looked, we don't really know what we're looking for, and may not recognise it when we find it.

Not at all, and neither would the twenty people that I trust.

No.
I agreed that I would get 20 identical answers. That's not the same thing as saying all 20 people would agree with /you/.

Fine. Would you now like me to argue that they are not? :-)

Sure.
Depends on what you mean by communication. I doubt whether you fully understand the dog, and I doubt whether the dog fully understands you. Let's face it, you and I have incompletely understood each other in this very thread. If humans find it difficult to communicate complex ideas with each other with 100% effectiveness, how much harder will it be to communicate even moderately complex ideas across a barrier such as "no common language"?

I don't think we can ever know that. I also don't think we can necessarily limit the field to elephants and cetaceans.

No, I'm suggesting that /everyone/ is blind, /including/ me, because we simply lack the sensory apparatus to get inside another creature's head.

We can invent a telepathy machine, I guess. That would do it - IF it works.

I could describe a possible scenario if you like, but I can't postulate a real situation, for the very good reason that we can't know whether such a real situation exists (until someone invents a working telepathy machine). BTW AFAIK "postulate" means "put forward as a theory" and I'm not in that business, at least not in this thread.

If we are prepared to define "intelligence" as the thing which produces these things as a byproduct, then of course these things will be a byproduct of "intelligence", but it doesn't actually move us forward.

I haven't claimed that they are. I do not accept, however, that they are /necessary/ byproducts of intelligence.
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Okay, so is it possible to derive a putative definition of what constitutes intelligence? If machines become sentient, or if animals turn out to be far more intelligent than it appears, how might we recognize it?
I've floated some ideas (replicated below to give y'all something to key off (read: disagree with :-)). What else might there be?
Some possible descriptors of intelligent behavior:
    * Creating and Using Tools     * Developing Commerce, Trade and an Economy     * Developing Mathematics and Language     * Having History, Liturature and Art     * Having Government and Law
Some possible definitions of intelligence:
    * Abstract Thought (leads to math and art)     * Builds on the Work of Previous Generations
Others? Problems with the above?
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On Mon, 15 Sep 2003 17:10:48 -0500, Programmer Dude

I have written a little essay attempting to summarise man's pathetic understanding of consciousness after a few millennia chewing on it.
See http://mindprod.com/consciousness.html
I also thought of a sense of humour and compassion.
Logically, intelligence should be put at the service of survival of the species. If it does not do that, it is not really intelligence, it is foolish cleverness. It is a negative trait, much as we may value it.
Other cultures might consider art and music far more important than technological achievements. There appears to be sexual selection going on in many species based on artistic ability.
Intelligence can be used to chew on a incredible variety of problems. We humans are only looking at a narrow spectrum of the total possibilities. Unfortunately, we put our best resources into solving problems like "how can I kill in the most painful possible way." How can I make the most money irrespective of the effect on others or the environment. No matter how cleverly that is done, I can't call it intelligent. It is a sort of mass insanity.
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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wrote or quoted :

Being warlike with the neighbouring tribe may be adaptive on a small scale. However, it does not scale well either in numbers or when you throw in advanced technology.
These behaviours are pretty much hard-wired. Ambassadors have to strongly suppress their natural reactions.
We have hard wiring honed for stone age life: - eat to excess whenever food is available gets modern man in all sorts of health troubles. - avoid exercise and conserve calories. - be ever-vigilant for attack. - don't think further ahead that one winter. - Kill as many animals as you can. - side with your family or tribe member in any dispute.
To continue with these programs is not intelligent, but we don't yet know how to change that programming, even if we could be persuaded it was in our best interest.
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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Roedy Green wrote:

Technology has advanced so fast, there's been no time to adapt! Consider the world our grandfathers knew....
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On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 17:29:22 -0500, Programmer Dude

the other way of looking at it is we have a cancerous growth of technology that is growing far too fast. The solution may be to take our genetic evolution into our own hands and start modifying ourselves to suit our technological environment. That may mean giving up DNA and wetware for something more durable.
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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Roedy Green wrote:

Truly, I think we may live long enough to see cyborgs. Apparently there are already kids running around places like MIT with a lot of hardware "onboard".
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There may not have been enough time to develop new genetic traits to cover the situation, but we may have had useful slumbering traits that just happened to be around and that have been favoured by our social constructions during the time since we started inventing stuff.
An extreme example would be the dozens of variants of cats, dogs, cattle and roses that we have been able to produce by planned breeding over the millenia. If humanity's social constructions over the last several thousand years have had a similar (if smaller) effect, then we may have moved a lot more towards adapting to technology and urban society than what evolution would do on its own.
Cheers     Bent D
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Roedy Green wrote:

Yes, and many of the more intelligent animals seem to have a sense of humor. I read recently about dolphins sneaking up on pelicans and pulling their tail feathers.

It would seem that it was. Humans aren't very fast or strong. We don't have eagle eyes or dog noses and hearing. Yet we kinda took over the world.

Personally, I would consider that a plus!

Eh? Except for truly deviant people, I've never heard such a thing. The hunters I know try to kill in the fastest possible way.

I'd have to agree with that one. Our culture seems to be at the point of actually glorifying and worshiping greed. Many people openly no longer consider it a vice.
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On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 13:21:16 -0500, Programmer Dude

The two adolescent dolphins (Joe and Rose) I played with had a feeding time game. They would play reluctant to be fed. You would have to reach out to feed them. They would very gradually pull back until you lost your balance and fell in.
Even when you knew what they were up to, they could still win.
In the wild, dolphins never eat dead fish, so it is a bit like coaxing a two-year old to eat them.
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 13:21:16 -0500, Programmer Dude

I am referring to the way war is waged now primarily to terrorise and demoralise the opposition, not just kill them or destroy property. Land mines, nerve gases, hideous diseases, daisy cutters, fuel vapor bombs, nuclear contamination, suicide bombs ... are all the result of man's brightest minds using their cleverness to doubtful ends.
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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Roedy Green wrote:

Ah, I understand. Yes, modern war theory suggests that it is better to wound than to kill, because that way you tie up the enemy's medical resources as well as take out a combatant.
War == Hell.
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And, of course, it's better to maim than to wound. Moreover, the more you can get the target to scream in agony, the more demoralized his friends will become.
Cheers     Bent D
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On Wed, 17 Sep 2003 13:21:16 -0500, Programmer Dude

Conspicuous consumption helps profits. Therefore commercials try the sell this as a moral philosophy. One example is the Murano, (pronounced Morono) a sports utility vehicle targeted to the urban market.
Corporations are the closest thing we have to Frankenstein's monster. They are powerful. They have no morals. They are destroying the planet. We created them. They have all but taken over decision making.
They keep changing the laws more and more in their favour, absolving their workers of criminal responsibility, absolving themselves of financial responsibility, and making governments pay them any time a regulation in the tiniest way interferes with their profit. See http://mindprod.com/nafta.html and http://mindprod.com/wto.html for outrageous examples.
Whomever orders or commits the crimes of a corporation should be financially and criminally responsible for them. Taken to extreme, if the Mafia incorporated, you could not prosecute any of it members for crimes committed on behalf of the corporation.
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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