This summer, AI will be put through virtual mazes designed to test the intelligence of lab animals:
Artificial intelligence systems perform well when problems that are sharply defined in advance. That’s why they can win at chess and Go. However, most problems an animal faces are not sharply defined. A wolf pack must feed itself in a vast wilderness; there is a great deal of information but most of it is imprecise. There are immutable laws of nature that the wolves obey without understanding. But no rules of play govern their quest for survival. Thus, intelligence means something different to a wolf than to a programmer.
Researchers now want to study this.
The project must tackle the thorny problem of how we understand animal intelligence. Measurements are contested. For example, if human intelligence is used as a benchmark, it may be irrelevant. As J. Scott Turner, known for research on termite mounds, has pointed out, a mound’s inhabitants can be seen as a “giant crawling brain,” which makes the type of intelligence difficult to compare with human intelligence, which is intrinsically individual…
There may also be factors in the intelligence of life forms that we have not captured in AI. For example, even bacteria face choices and make decisions. Even an amoeba or a fruit fly is smarter, about some things, than your computer. These abilities in life forms that lack a brain may involve factors we do not yet fully understand, if only because AI is modeled in part on human thought processes. “Virtual Olympics: Animal IQ vs AI” at Mind Matters
Safe prediction: We will hear remarkable stories from media.
See also: Even Bacteria Are Purpose-Driven The recent finding that bacteria can make individual decisions may help design better antibiotics
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