Scott Adams has a series of posts on intelligence (1, 2, 3). He is arguing that the Big Bang is intelligent, but in fact, he is arguing for a bit more than this.
His logic is fascinating.
- Anything that creates (is the cause of) literature is intelligent. That’s just a specific version of the Turing test.
- The Big Bang predates us and, had it not existed, there would be no literature. Indirectly, it created our literature.
Naturally, you can have fun and replace Big Bang by any other concept human beings depended on.
I guess that Scott’s ultimate point is exactly the point I made in Duck Typing, Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy:
Bring me a machine that can filter my spam mail with human-like ability, and I will be happy. Don’t bother me by trying to prove to me that this machine is actually “intelligent.” I do not see why this is a useful concept.
That is, the concept of “intelligence” is ill-posed or, at best, unhelpful. We do not know what intelligence is, and that is probably because there is no such thing. There is no free will, no mystical consciousness. At best, we will build machines that are able to solve complex tasks on their own and constantly adapt, but it serves no purpose to say that these machines are intelligent. At best, we should say that they have human-like intelligence, but in my contexts, we already have such machines.