What is Intelligence?

"Intelligence" comes from the word "intelligere," which means to understand, to perceive in Latin. In the Middle Ages, the term "intellectus" was used in the translation of the Greek term "Nous", which was often used in philosophical arguments such as the immortality of souls. Because of such background, Francis Bacon, David Hume and John Locke, who were representative mordern philosophers on the theory of cognition, have used the word "understanding" instead, so it was almost a forgotten word until 20th century.

The beginning of the re-emergence of the term "intelligence" coincides with the development of modern psychology. The most important event is that early 20th century psychologist Alfred Binet set up the IQ test and IQ theory. Since then, the term "intelligence" has become widely used in a wide variety of contexts.

Although many scholars have defined intelligence over the years, the most famous are the definitions in the article of Wall Street Journal "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" signed by 52 scholars in 1994 and in the report titled "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns" published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association.

Intelligence were defined from "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" in Wall Street Journal as,
A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do
and defined from "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns" in the 1995 report by American Psychological Association as,
Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person's intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of "intelligence" are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen, somewhat different, definitions.
These definitions are all about "human intelligence". They are overly complicated, and considering ethical issues, I think there is a considerable gap from the word "intelligence" that we use today in many ways.

The term "intelligence" has become more popular in recent years because of the emergence of "artificial intelligence" technology. However, the meanings of intelligence in artificial intelligence, in psychology, and in life sciences are often used in different meanings. Therefore, a more general and broad definition of intelligence is needed.

One of the descriptions of "intelligence" in Wikipedia seems to be more reasonable to me. Wikipedias says "intelligence" is,
The ability to perceive information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviors within an environment or context
By applying this definition, information can be acquired for adaptation according to changes in the external environment, and all actions and their achievements evolved and developed based on the knowledge extracted therefrom can be seen as "intelligence". In this definition, the process of evolution of an organism in response to an external environment, the generation of a nervous system in a multicellular organism, the process of creating a brain, and the process by which an information network is changed in order to adapt to external environment in a computer, all these situations can be explained as "Intelligence. "

Therefore, I will use term "intelligence" in this sense. "Information" and "Intelligence" are everywhere.


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