Is Intelligence Key to
Both Yes and No
آیا هوش کلید ترقی است: هم آری و هم نه
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Professor Deutsch, you believe that mankind, after
billions and billions of years of absolute monotony in the universe,
will now reshape it to their liking, that a new cosmological era is
coming. Are you serious?
David Deutsch: I am not the first to propose this idea. The Italian geologist Antonio Stoppani wrote in the 19th century that he had no hesitation in declaring man to be a new power in the universe, equivalent to the power of gravitation.
Quoted from Spiegel's April 6, 2022 Issue *
The above is from an interview of prominent Physicist David Deutsch with Spiegel. Is the power attributed to humans, because of our intelligence? But all progress we have seen in history were results of using 'intelligent tools!' In other words, new power in the universe was not the power of our intelligence, rather it was the power of our intelligent tools. In fact before AI, our intelligent tools were horses, dogs, and mainly humans ourselves when used as-a-tool (e.g. slaves)! And it is noteworthy that horses were not used in transportation because of being the most intelligent animal to do the work, for example gorillas were much stronger and a lot more intelligent, but rather horses were used because they were controllable, and in some respect the intelligence of horses was not even desired when they were easily replaced by combustion engine, as explained in details in a paper entitled 'Intelligent Tools: The Cornerstone of a New Civilization!'
A while back, I learned about ideas of David Deutsch when reading an interview with Michele Reilly, that my dear friend Ray Kurzweil had published about Quantum Computers. I support the ideas David Deutsch expresses in his recent interview with Spiegel this month, about the need for progress especially at this juncture of human history when we are reaching a technological Singularity, as described best by Kurzweil! But progress is not the power of intelligence, rather it is the power of using intelligent tools, whether intelligent tools are artificial, like AI, or are like horses and humans-as-tools, the way it clearly was, during slavery! One may ask then why ants that have mastered using members of their own species as intelligent tools, did not make similar progress as humans, and still repeat making the same constructions they have made forever, and if I may use the terminology of the conversation between Professor Deutsch and Spiegel, ants' monuments are monotonous year after year! The reason is, that not the 'intelligence' itself, but rather, using 'intelligent tools,' is what makes the difference! And then one should examine the *goal* the user of 'intelligent tools' puts forward to drive the intelligent tools! In other words, what I am calling *purpose* or *goal* here, makes all the difference, to achieve *progress* or *not*, regardless of how much intelligence is involved in the process, whether in forming intelligent tools or in managing them. Moreover, understanding progress this way, means the need for attention to economics as a very crucial matter, which I discussed years ago in 1989 in a paper entitled 'A Theory of Uniqueness Value'! And finally if progress has a central place in our thought, we should reserve a special focus on futurism, to assess and understand the potential results of our goals in advance, something I have discussed in a paper entitled 'What is Futurism,' a work that unfortunately was never translated to English, and the attempt at making such assessments of the future and devising plans to address the shortcomings and side-effects, are paramount, e.g. in the area of social justice, as has been discussed in the 'Supplement 2020 of Futurist Party Platform,' and elaborated in a book entitled 'Futurist: Humanity's Nowruz in 21st Century; New Variant to Meet Human Needs!'.
A few months ago I was sitting at a picnic table in a park by myself, eating lunch. In that part of the park, usually people would come and feed the geese. That day for some reason the park was empty. But some people had left a container with bread crumbs under the table where I had my lunch. A goose came to that area and I gave her some bread crumbs from my own lunch. She would carefully look around for any danger and would pick up the crumbs I gave her and eat. I thought she did not notice the container which was near where I was sitting, under the table, as she would pass by it several times, but would not look at it and not eat from it. After I was finished with my lunch and left the area, just from afar looked at her and saw she was eating from that container. So she was smart enough to use covert attention that some neuroscientists refer to, as higher level of thinking! I would even say the goose was very *conscious* about everything that I just reported here during the whole time! Now geese are not even the smartest of birds and we have parrots, mynas, crows, etc that are smarter and their common ancestors are dinosaurs who have had at least 300 million years more history on Earth than our own mammalian common ancestors and we know some dinosaurs who were carnivorous and walked on two feet, regressed and became herbivorous and returned to walking on four feet again! So dinosaurs and then the birds that make nests (construction), having had all this history of intelligence and consciousness, nonetheless, they did not make much progress and a large population of them died by the strike of a huge meteorite on Earth! And even if that had not happened, they still might not have lasted much because of their lack of progress. I believe the reason for their lack of progress, is absence of an ability to use intelligent tools among the birds, despite the fact that humans have used doves as intelligent tools to send letters. It is noteworthy that in contrast, ants and bees had the ability to use intelligent tools (e.g. members of their own species as soldiers), but the lineage of dinosaurs, were unable to set goals beyond their immediate needs, to make them a candidate to give rise to a progressive species like humans.
Now to make a serious progress in our times, I believe not only humans need to develop intelligent tools to make us capable of populating the farthest galaxies and we should take people like Avi Loeb seriously about ʻOumuamua and search for ways to achieve interstellar travel (e.g. Light Sail), but more than all that, we need intelligent tools that can be used to make our own universes!
Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,
April 27, 2022
For a Secular Democratic & Futurist Republican Party in Iran