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Wisdom and intelligence

Intelligence is the ability to solve problems—wisdom is the ability to discern and to see (as you’ll find in its etymological roots). It is not clear that these two faculties are the same—and we have some grounds to think this is so because it is easy to think of innumerable people who were very intelligent but not very wise (Einstein wrote essays that favoured socialism). Yet it seems right in an intuitive way that while not all intelligent people will be wise, most wise people will be intelligent—and perhaps the real issue is that wisdom impinges on consciousness and character, not intelligence alone.

The ability to solve problems seems to have linear characteristics, in the sense that a motorway is built by intelligence whereas a country lane may have been beaten out over the centuries as people meandered backwards and forwards to the fields (eventually, it was tarmaced—and it will almost certainly, in Lindy fashion, out-last the motorway). This is the difference between wisdom and intelligence, wisdom is more natural and, while it might lose in the short-term, it will win in the long-term—hence it shades into men like Christ and Hitler, because although both lost in the short-term they founded religions after them (no statues of Pontius Pilate today; Stalin, FDR, and Churchill have faded—yet the Hitler cult goes strong around the world; for example, on both sides in the current Ukraine War; not to mention in the minds of Western progressives, who await “the Second Coming” with perpetual anxiety).

This raises the question as to whether Artificial Intelligence will be only intelligent but not wise—intelligence perhaps granting it the ability to make extraordinary breakthroughs that have little longevity. In principle, this should not be so because cybernetics—that which lurks behind AI—meanders about the place, so it should incorporate iterative river-like wisdom de facto; in other words, AI will not only be able to solve problems but also discern between solutions and perceive where the solutions need to be applied (except the latter seems to pertain to consciousness, not intelligence; and it is not clear that to simply create a more and more intelligent machine would, at some point, beget consciousness—though perhaps it would).

How would you test if an AI was wise, not just intelligent? I would suggest that if you asked a future ultra-ChatGPT a question and it gave only a blank response, so that you had to ask the question again or re-formulate it, then you could say you were in the presence of a “wise AI”—since the wisest course of action is usually to say and do nothing.


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1 comentário

08 de mar. de 2023

I refuse to accept this.

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