What is Intelligence?


Intelligence is vaguely related to the ability to take decisions. Any decision we make can come from various aspects of our thought process.

Calculation

We calculate based on specific parameters, and decide on an action that would lead to the desired result. For example, knowing well the equations of profit and loss, and with the information about availability of products, a trader can decides on the strategy that can maximize the profit. This calculation does not need anything more than the equations and the information about the current status of things. These calculations can increase in complexity, but they are feasible with these limited inputs. This is calculation based decision.

Learning

Over the years, we have learnt a lot from surroundings. These lessons may or may not be conscious. They may be based on experience or explicit teachings. But, over the years we have all accumulated "lessons" that impact the way we think. These may or may not add positive value to our decisions, but we use what we have learnt to analyse the current situation. Based on this analysis, we try to predict which action could lead to the desired result. Thus, our decisions are affected by what we have learnt. Such learning is hazy. We may not be sure about details about precise source of each lesson. But we have gathered them, and we use them as an input to our calculations. This is learning based decision.

Emotions

Emotions are the major factors in our decisions. Emotions make us feel good or bad about events and make us want to choose based on this 'feeling'. It often happens that a particular action may not be the best as per what we know and what we calculate. Yet we do it because "I like it". We do it because it makes us feel happy. This is often the more appropriate approach than the above two. Such emotions play a major role in our decision. In fact, the influence of emotions is often much stronger than the previous two. These are emotion based decisions.

Intuition

And there are times when we overlook all the above, and do something entirely different - just out of a gut feeling, or intuition. Such actions may not be justified under any of the above. Yet we intuitively feel that this is right, and often it turns out to be so. Such intuitions have been an important source of most innovations. They have been instrumental in the progress of mankind. This is the fourth source of our decisions.


These are just a few of the several aspects of our mental effort, the effort in deciding which action is appropriate for this moment. Anyone familiar with Roger Sperry's theory of Right Brain and Left Brain analysis can easily make out that each is based on the left brain as well as the the right brain - with increasing tilt to the right brain. The whole of AI is an attempt to extract and isolate the explicit, analytical activity out of each of these, and then get a machine to do. Thus, allowing you to focus further on the creative aspects of your work.