How could we assess the intelligence of an extraterrestrial civilization? A team of Spanish and Australian researchers have come up with the answer. They have taken a first step towards use a scientific method to measure the intelligence of a human being, an animal, a machine or an extraterrestrial.
"It can be applied to any subject –- whether biological or not –- at any point in its development (child or adult, for example), for any system now or in the future, and with any level of intelligence or speed", points out Hernández-Orallo.
The researcher, along with his colleague David L. Dowe of the Monash University, Clayton (Australia), have suggested the use of mathematical and computational concepts in order to encompass all these conditions.
The study has been published in the journal Artificial Intelligence and forms part of the "Anytime Universal Intelligence" project, in which other scientists from the UPV and the Complutense University of Madrid are taking part.
The authors have used interactive exercises in settings with a difficulty level estimated by calculating the so-called 'Kolmogorov complexity' (they measure the number of computational resources needed to describe an object or a piece of information). This makes them different from traditional psychometric tests and artificial intelligence tests (Turing test).
The most direct application of this study is in the field of artificial intelligence. Until now there has not been any way of checking whether current systems are more intelligent than the ones in use 20 years ago, "but the existence of tests with these characteristics may make it possible to systematically evaluate the progress of this discipline", says Hernández-Orallo.
And what is even "more important" is that there were no theories or tools to evaluate and compare future intelligent systems that could demonstrate intelligence greater than human intelligence. The implications of a universal intelligence test also impact on many other disciplines. This could have a significant impact on most cognitive sciences, since any discipline depends largely on the specific techniques and systems used in it and the mathematical basis that underpins it.
"The universal and unified evaluation of intelligence, be it human, non-human animal, artificial or extraterrestrial, has not been approached from a scientific viewpoint before, and this is a first step", the researcher concludes.
The Daily Galaxy via FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology