Laziness – a strange loop at the heart of intelligence

Posted: 11/09/2014 in Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I recently read this blog post and I liked it a lot. Here is a quick summary:

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. […] But the fact is, laziness, that much maligned human quality, seen by many as a terrible character flaw, is one of the true mothers of invention. Laziness must not be confused with lethargy. Lethargy comes with an inclination to be passive. But real laziness has no restrictions on the work ethic. Instead, laziness poses this question: isn’t there a better way to do this thing?

This is somehow true. It is laziness which drove humans to invent the wheel, not necessity. They used to have donkeys, horses, animals to transport things. So they didn’t ”need” a transportation way. The same reasoning applies to the invention of cars or planes etc. The ‘need’ was always to do things more efficiently, faster, ‘lazier’. This is somehow reflected by our lazy-intelligent nature.

In evolution theory, a lazy creature – which uses more efficient ways to solve things, has an evolutionary advantage (in term of fitness function) over his/her counterparts. Because as simply as this: He/she will use less energy/food/time to get the same benefits as the others.

Now I am not talking about the freeloaders, who live like mushrooms sucking energy from others while doing nothing. These individuals, while they get the benefits of laziness for themselves, they harm their surrounding in at least the same amount of benefits they get. The group they belong to is harmed globally more than the benefits they get individually (related story here). This is not a sustainable business; because this harm will be reflected to themselves sooner or later.

The ultimate laziness for an intelligent creature, is to invent another (artificial) intelligent creature to do the job of researching better solving problems at his/her place. If one day, we invent a machine that is really like us, truly intelligent (without considering the ethical problems that arises – like slavery; and I am not sure if true intelligence can exist without true consciousness), we won’t need to invent anything else anymore. We can be lazy forever.

However, if we accept the theory that laziness is at the heart of intelligence. This AI machine will be lazy as well by definition of intelligence; It will try to solve its tasks in the most efficient way for itself. It will end up: introspecting itself, understanding its own behavior and its own intelligence and recreating a Meta-artificial Intelligence to serve it.  The loop can go forever. This is the strange loop of laziness at the heart of true intelligence theory: an intelligent creature will try to create an artificial-intelligence which will try to create a meta-artificial-intelligence, which will try to  […],  to solve problems efficiently, lazily 🙂

This whole process is known by: “Intelligence explosion“.

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