Reflections on human and artificial intelligence

The challenge of free and creative intelligence

Jaume Agustí Cullell

For simplicity of expression, I present as seemingly forceful statements, what are really questions that should be investigated. When, in order to face the complexity and uncertainty of the current world, we talk about the simplicity of the origin, not the temporal origin relative to thought, but the creative one connected to intelligence, then words do not describe anything, they are symbols that can only try stimulate attention, interest, research, that is, to move the intelligence of the reader towards the direct perception of the facts dealt with and the spontaneous action that emerges from it due to their perception.

The danger of degradation of human intelligence

At the beginning of the 80s, when I started teaching Artificial Intelligence, AI, it was undergoing a period of great euphoria. So much so that it alarmed me how a future of intelligent machines was sold, among them the human biological ones, or ´meat machines´. If what they predicted came to be, humanity would end up a slave to those who possessed these intelligent machines. Behind all this there was, and still is, an ignorance of the depth and unity of human intelligence, HI. With its sensitive and mental perception of all of reality as a whole, so necessary in a global world such as the present one. HI is much more than accumulated emotions, experiences and knowledge, and the resulting thoughts which are necessarily limited, sparse, often egocentric and conflicting. The great danger was not, nor is the machines, but the immaturity and possible degradation of the HI, which I later call programmed intelligence.

The necessary mutation of the cultural species

The perception of this danger, led me to deepen an adolescent intuition, springing from a statement by Jaume Balmes in his Criterion: truth is reality. As I went deeper into it, I realized little by little that people and institutions have always tried to seize truth in order to influence – even dominate – the others in their name. Thus I found that reality could not be anything other than pure freedom, which is only realized and enjoyed in the creativity of intelligence, impossible to possess or subdue. Only freedom carries the truth. Thought, allways conditioned, can never be  free and so is incapable of finding out what truth is. Putting this totally free and creative intelligence at the centre of human life, instead of knowledge and thoughts often used to impose upon others, is the mutation of Homo Sapiens, the one that knows in order to dominate, into Homo Quaerens, the one who questions in order to investigate and create, to enjoy and put itself at the service of humanity and life. This is the proposal that can be found in the blog.

The unity, totality and creativity of intelligence

Intelligence is not exclusive to humanity, but is the activity of reality itself, its creative agent. Therefore, reality’s intelligence is one and indivisible, always operative throughout the universe. The different forms of Intelligence- of plants, animals, humans – are distinctions of the mind created by speech and thought. Among these forms of intelligence stands out the HI, on which I will focus. The separation and individuation of reality, in particular attributing intelligence to individuals, is characteristic of thought, of the psyche, which in its search for security creates a reference centre, the individual with its needs and interests to satisfy, ´I´, ´me´. Because if I reject that me I am lost! The proposed creation of trans-human individuals (i.e. cyborgs) is another example of the hazardous prevailing individualism, separating those who can pay as superior. Therefore, we must understand the HI not in itself, individualized, but as a collective fact that is being constituted through intra-actions with other forms of existence within the unity of the cosmic intelligence; (I define intra- actions as primordial interactions constitutive of each existence, to distinguish them from external interactions between already constituted existences). To understand the evolution of the HI and the AI, one must investigate its intra-action. It does not make much sense to talk about Al as a neutral tool independent of the HI. Thus, in order to direct the intra- action HI-AI to the common good and avoid its dangers, it must be understood starting with the HI that creates the AI.

Two levels of intelligence

I propose to distinguish two levels of the HI, two ways of intelligence of the one reality. On the one hand, the Intelligence of Need, IN, the intelligence of a reality before us, separated, relative to our needs and interests, senses and capabilities. Always pursuing objectives, it creates models of reality, very comprehensive and powerful, in particular those of the techno-sciences, TC. They are so powerful that we tend to confuse them with reality itself. However, they are still models, such as the one that the tick creates, with its two senses that capture the heat and sweat of mammals in order to parasitize them. On the other hand, liberating intelligence, LI, connects us with reality without mediation, without separations (i.e. to enjoy a flower without interposed thoughts, without feeling separated from it, without identifying ´me´ and ´it´). It is a subtle and deep level, the silent contact with the origin, the source of creative freedom. In it, the HI finds the energy, peace and unconditional enjoyment of life. Although too often unconscious or half asleep, it is always operative, i.e. it can surprise us with a eureka while we enjoy a bath. Contrary to the IN, the LI has nothing to achieve, but it makes it possible not to remain attached to the models created by the IN, in particular the models we create about ourselves. Thus, the LI also allows the evolution of the IN by giving it the creative freedom necessary to expand and create new models of reality, opening new possibilities to human life, for better or for worse. This has led to the development of different fields of HI – such as fine arts or TCs.

A general model of reality

Thus the TC has led us to change the general hierarchical model of reality, dominant during the pre-industrial era. Although surreptitiously, it still survives in the power of imposition, but with indirect and much more subtle forms than those of the past. From a model based on autarkic entities with a sense of their own, related externally and hierarchically, we have moved to a model where nothing is autarchic, nor does it have its own independent entity. Now intra- actions are primordial, that is, the interactions that continually constitute the autonomy of each form of existence, its autopoiesis . Thus, we should understand the HI as an agent in this model of intra-actions. For this I will focus on five powers of the HI that I call Creative Constitutive Capacities of intelligence, CCC. They are: interest in reality, semiotic communication, subsidiary symbiosis, generalized research and liberation.

The creative hand

I represent these CCCs with the five fingers of the creative hand. I enunciate them very briefly and then I note some aspects of their intradependence. Interest in reality, Interest is the vector energy of the HI. I represent it with the index finger, the finger of attention, the one that points to the important things that motivate and guide action. Interest makes the HI a sensitive, emotional and evaluative intelligence. Only two facts have to be considered to capture its importance. First, when the interest instead of pointing to reality, points to the individual or collective ego, it perverts the rest of the CCC’s, generating a society of domination and exploitation. Second, when during the European Renaissance, the interest changed direction and stopped pointing to the past to repeat it, and instead towards the future to create it. Then began the second great cultural mutation of humanity, leaving behind the agricultural era. That’s the mutation of Sapiens into Quaerens, so necessary if we do not want a grim end. Semiotic communication, its first exponent is speech based on articulated sounds that convey meanings about a referent present or not, the sign. I represent it with the middle finger, the mediator, the axis of the creative hand. Speech frees us from the basic stimulus-response mechanism for animal life. Between stimulus and response, we interpose the speech with its richness of meanings, the most wonderful of HI powers, opening without limits the human imagination. Thus the HI is mainly linguistic, as are the models it creates, among them the AI, which differentiates both HI and AI from pure animal intelligence. Everything that affects communication transforms human life. Therefore, it is urgent to thoroughly investigate the current impact of information and communication technologies, ICT, on human communication. Subsidiary symbiosis, it is the life in common capacity – including in it the whole Earth – a capacity to cooperate, of mutual service, which I represent with the ring finger. I call it subsidiary symbiosis to note that it can no longer be hierarchical as in the pre-industrial past. Creativity requires that each human organization has the maximum autonomy that it can exercise responsibly in intra-dependence with the other institutions, starting from the individual to the UN. Generalized research, It is the hallmark of Homo Quaerens. I represent it with the little finger because it was the last to grow systematically from the Renaissance onwards, but still restricted to certain specialties, particularly techno-scientific ones. Questioning the known to truly understand, and open to the unknown in order to create, is the proper dynamics of the HI. Currently, the research attitude is not only necessary in certain specialties, but in all activities and by all, if we do not want to end up displaced by machines, more powerful than us when it comes to simply using knowledge, including languages. Liberation capacity, it is the central capacity of what I have previously called liberating intelligence. Understanding that to liberate does not mean to deny but to not be submitted. I represent it with the thumb that already the Romans used as a sign of life or death referring to the gladiators. But now it is for all of humanity. It is the ability to end all submission, internal or external. Liberation from that which is internal or relative to the ego, constituted by desires, expectations and fears, but also liberation from one’s attachment to emotions, knowledge and thoughts. It allows us to free ourselves from external submission to the mechanisms of domination of the current society of exploitation. Intra-dependency of the CCC We cannot understand or exercise properly any CCC’s without being mindful of their intra-dependency: the assistance of the other CCC’s in each of them. Let’s see it very briefly. Without interest the other CCCs would not have the energy to act. And without the good functioning of the rest of the CCC’s, especially of research and liberation, interest is reduced to animal instincts and, moved by desires, expectations and fears, it is not directed towards reality but towards the ego. Then it becomes short-sighted and selfish, corrupting the rest of CCC’s. Then communication cannot be sincere, symbiosis passes to domination, research is put at the service of the highest bidder and liberation makes us insatiable. The symbiosis is based on the common interest and trusting communication, and thus can reach levels of symbiosis like nations, unattainable for other animals. Common interest, communication, symbiosis and the liberation of individualistic selfishness make possible the investigation and corresponding team creativity, which we should value above the individual one in a world so complex, uncertain and changing, where the individual becomes increasingly impotent. This would reduce the pressure for the productivity of individual research, so pernicious to the quality and creativity of research. A few years ago, a study on the quality of publications in medical journals revealed that 85% of published results were not entirely reliable. Research is necessary to be directed by a strong interest in reality, compassion and love instead of pure curiosity. This is easily put at the service of plutocracy and imperialism, as the history of TCs shows. Curiosity can cure cancer as well as make the atomic bomb, go to the Moon and leave malaria research second. To summarize this intra-dependency of the CCC’s we must stress the importance of the liberation capacity, the clamp of the creative hand, allowing the other fingers to work to their greatest extent. Thus the interest can reach its highest degree, unconditional compassion and love; communication can be sincere and trusting to the point of silent communion; the subsidiary symbiosis becomes unity in love and service; research reaches the highest degree of team creativity and is put at service of all humanity.

To live exercising free and creative intelligence

Three uses of the HI

Here I approach the already mentioned two levels of HI, the intelligence of need, IN, and the liberation intelligence, LI, from the perspective of the CCC’s. Depending on how the CCCs are exercised, that is, on the degree of intensity and priority of each CCC over the others, we will have different uses of a single HI. I would like to highlight three uses of HI, the first two being two well differentiated uses of the IN, which I call the functional and the evaluative use of intelligence respectively. And the third one is the LI, the deep level of the HI. Functional intelligence, FI: when interest takes the form of curiosity about the functioning of the world; communication creates the functional-mathematical meta-language based upon measurements,  magnitudes and calculations; symbiosis is simply collaboration; the research is highly specialized and  methodical; and liberation is limited to abstraction of qualities and values that could hinder the interest in the  functioning of things; then we have what I call functional intelligence, FI, the characteristic of TCs. The axiological intelligence, AXI : we exercise the AXI when the interest is mainly sensitive, artistic and  evaluative; communication creates the stories that motivate and guide action; the symbiosis, the social cohesion, the  sense of team, become central; research is mainly sensitive, artistic and valorising, attentive to self-knowledge; and liberation frees us from  established values, enabling the creation of new values  to face the new needs that arise due to techno-scientific growth . The FI and AXI cover the two clearest needs of the HI, the functioning and the valuation of things, the two main modes of IN. For they create models of reality such as TCs and value systems respectively. The liberation intelligence, LI, is the profound level of HI, centred on the capacity for liberation, always operative for good as well as bad, love or insatiable greed, the latter when it goes unnoticed or ignored. The LI allows us the flexible exercise of the CCC’s, freeing us from the established models of reality, avoiding becoming what next I very briefly describe as programmed intelligences. But, above all, the LI puts us in direct or immediate contact with the origin, with reality’s creative freedom and the unity, depth, totality and simplicity of its intelligence.

The programmed intelligences

Humanity has not yet been able to live fully exercising the free and creative HI: the FI, the AXI and the LI being in harmony. On the contrary, the disharmony among these was even more accentuated by the aforementioned second cultural mutation of humanity. The accelerated exponential growth of the TC, with the enormous social impact of its products and services, has not been accompanied by an equivalent growth of new models of the AXI, nor of growth in the LI practice. The religious traditions have not seen in the growth of the TC the need and opportunity to encourage the growth of LI, which is necessary in order to put TCs in the service of all humanity. This inability, since the beginning of the cultural mutation, is due in part to the conflict between a techno-scientific FI that progressively grows to be hegemonic and the religious AXI that had been dominant during the preindustrial era. This social poverty in the exercise of the LI has as inevitable consequence, the immaturity, even degradation of the HI: war is the greatest world industry and propaganda the second. This is due to the progressive decrease, already from birth, of the potential for freedom and creativity of the HI, this is due to the pressure of society. Thus the intelligence of the social majority, instead of investigating the direct perception of dynamic facts, which is the proper activity of intelligence, becomes mechanical thinking. This mechanical thought revolves around the memory, of accumulated experiences and knowledge, often in conflict, even contradictory. A thought mainly driven by desires, expectations and fears. A thought that instead of perceiving the current reality and its novelty, projects the past onto the future. Therefore, it is very manipulable by the power of domination. Thus the true democracy based on the freedom and creativity of the social majority becomes impossible. All this is nothing new in the history of mankind. But now this domination becomes more realizable, efficient, subtle and dangerously destructive than ever. For example, dictatorships such as China are using Big data and other AI technologies to directly control citizens. In the West, these methods of domination are also practiced, but in a more indirect and subtle way. So we have not only been satisfied with being programmed intelligences , that is to say, attached to the models of reality controlled by the dominating power, but the AI has created artificial IPs that are increasingly powerful and autonomous . The reaction to these announced dangers has been basically to focus attention on how Al should be, instead of focusing upon the HI that creates the AI. It looks for an Al that obeys a specific ethic and to make it more robust, reliable and safe. As if there were not enough cases of similar diagnoses and remedies applied to much simpler problems with no results. For example, the model we have created for transportation is not only unsustainable but also causes more deaths each year than all joint current wars. The problem lies in the immaturity of the HI, particularly the intra-action of the HI with an Al that seeks to become more and more autonomous and powerful. 

Brief conclusion The conclusion is quite clear: TCs growth for common good  can only be achieved through a true creative democracy, a society where everyone can realize their great possibility: to fully enjoy the truly free and creative HI in all activities. This is not only the great challenge of humanity, but a matter of life or death. 

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