Most of the intelligence

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Most of the intelligence out there must be artificial intelligence. We keep looking for critters like us living on a planet like ours, where in fact the majority of the intelligence out there is not biological. That would be my argument.

Seth Shostak

9 thoughts on “Most of the intelligence”

  1. If ‘artificial’, then some other intelligence made it — right?

    Heck, right now we couldn’t find ‘ourselves’ out there with our current tech.

  2. Or maybe they lived and died a million years ago or won’t evolve sentience for another billion.

    The universe is big in time as well as in space.

    For all we know we might be the first and only technological civilization ever.

  3. Number of biological intelligences observed in the universe so far: 1.

    Number of artificial intelligences observed in the universe so far: 0.

    Clearly AIs vastly outnumber biological intelligences, because reasons.

    • Generally agreed but we have discovered or found evidence of about a dozen intelligent species/sub-species on Earth. We have evidence of only one technological intelligence so far with a couple of maybe’s.

      • We have discovered one (1) species which is capable of constructing or maintaining a technological civilization. That is the minimum requirement for ‘intelligent’ within the terms of this particular discussion.

        And there are no ‘maybes’ about technological intelligence on Earth. We’ve developed it; no other species has even come close.

        • That restriction is precisely what renders the OP dubious.

          The key question that needs answering is whether intelligence innevitably leads to technology or whether intelligence can survive without technology. Human survival is dependent on technology in today’s world but humans survived well enough without technology for at least 90% of the history of the species.

          • Actually, what renders the OP dubious is that no artificial intelligence has ever been observed to exist, and there are sound theoretical reasons to doubt whether a true (‘hard’) AI can actually exist as an autonomous entity. SETI is strictly a search for technological intelligences, as it necessarily cannot find any other kind. Of course intelligence can survive without technology – but it cannot be detected at interstellar distances.

          • @ Felix

            “but humans survived well enough without technology for at least 90% of the history of the species.”

            Eh? Huh? What do you call tool-making and using fire? Clothes, too.

            Technology is an artifical means of providing capabilities a species does not inherently have. Hominids have been using technology for millions of years.

            (And it’s not just humans. What about sea otters using rocks on their bellies to smash shellfish? Or chimps using twigs to obtain termites? )

            • Depends on what you call tools and what you call technology.
              Stone scrapers and pointed sticks don’t require much accumulated knowledge or even problem solving ability.

              Does it really matter if it’s 90% or 70% of human history? Humans go back a lot longer than any tool remnants and using signs of technology use detectable by us across interstellar space is a pretty poor proxy for the existence of intelligent species, to say nothing of life.

              By now we know planets are all over so odds are life is far from rare. But to leap from that to assuming other technological civilizations must exist is pretty much a faith-based proposition.

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