(Roughly) Daily

“Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.”*…


Two researchers have proposed a new way of thinking about intelligence: one in which intelligence is related to entropy– one in which intelligence is a fundamentally thermodynamic process…

Alexander Wissner-Gross, a physicist at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cameron Freer, a mathematician at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, developed an equation that they say describes many intelligent or cognitive behaviors, such as upright walking and tool use.

The researchers suggest that intelligent behavior stems from the impulse to seize control of future events in the environment. This is the exact opposite of the classic science-fiction scenario in which computers or robots become intelligent, then set their sights on taking over the world…

Read the full story at the always-illuminating 3 Quarks Daily; read the paper in the journal Physical Review Letters.  

* Susan Sontag


As we reckon that maybe “hot air” isn’t so bad after all, we might send intelligent birthday greetings to Claude Elwood Shannon; he was born on this date in 1916.  A  mathematician, electronic engineer, and cryptographer, Shannon is best remembered as the “father of information theory” (for his 1948 paper that launched the field); but he is also credited with founding both digital computer and digital circuit design theory in 1937, when, as a 21-year-old master’s degree student at MIT, he wrote his thesis demonstrating that electrical applications of boolean algebra could construct and resolve any logical, numerical relationship– widely considered to be the most important master’s thesis of all time.




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