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The Nature, and Evolution of Intelligence

Malcolm Shute mshute at cs.man.ac.uk
Wed Jun 16 06:53:13 EST 1993

In article <1993Jun14.233610.5946 at cs.aukuni.ac.nz> rwil2 at cs.aukuni.ac.nz (Roger Wayne     Willcocks      ) writes:
>I consider intelligence to be related to the ability and speed of
>adaptation that a member of a species can make to a perceived change
>in environment.  This could be real or abstract.

Good one.
However, your word 'ability' disguises a whole can of worms...
you are not only going to need to quantify the organism's response time
to the environmental change... but also the magnitude of the environmental
change, and the success at adapting to it.

A blade of grass adapts almost immediately to a change in the strength of
the wind... but this is less intelligent a behaviour than a slug sliding
away from a dangerous situation.

Of course... we can note that your definition need not be limited to
living organisms.  We could non-living natural phenomina in your
classification (e.g. a river meander with a flood channel); non-living
man-made machines (e.g. a central heating thermostat, or indeed a computer);
evolutionary systems (e.g. the finch species viewed as a system, adapting
to different island conditions).

This is why I say "Good one" at the beginning...
it sounds as though it is along the right lines.

Malcolm SHUTE.         (The AM Mollusc:   v_ at _ )        Disclaimer: all

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