Postscript on AI

Q: what makes AI “artificial”? I understand the difference between human and machine learning/intelligence. However, isn’t there a “natural” intelligence, innate in nature, more general than the individualized human intelligence? What would be natural intelligence, in contradistinction to artificial intelligence?

R: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is termed “artificial” because it’s created by humans and mimics human intelligence. It involves algorithms, computations, and software designed to perform tasks that would typically require human intellect such as learning, problem-solving, understanding language, recognizing patterns, and making decisions.

Natural intelligence, on the other hand, refers to the innate ability of living organisms to process information, adapt to their environment, learn from experience, and solve problems for survival. This includes not just individualized human intelligence, but also the group intelligence observed in animals like ants or bees, the adaptive abilities of plants, and even the complex interplay of ecosystems.

In contrast to AI, natural intelligence is not designed or created; it has evolved over billions of years. While AI can mimic certain aspects of natural intelligence, it does not possess the holistic, self-organizing, and adaptive qualities inherent to life. Hence, AI is considered “artificial.”

It’s worth noting that some researchers are exploring ways to create AI systems that more closely resemble natural intelligence, such as neural networks and genetic algorithms, but these are still fundamentally artificial constructs.