Friday, April 06, 2007


How About Dumb Intelligence?


© 2007 Ray X




(Image from www.samcci.comics.org/ ) .




Someone somewhere (my memory ain’t the best) made a statement about UFOs possibly being probes from other worlds without onboard organic operators. Such probes could be controlled via built-in artificial intelligence, but he couldn’t speculate how such an AI device would work since none exist (at least on this planet).

Hey, I’ll take a stab at it.

Let’s define the “intelligence” part of AI. To me AI implies a non-organic (or syntho-organic) construct capable of reacting like a human mind, albeit one with a good IQ. To me intelligence implies more than a perfunctory response to a stimulus. In my definition intelligence involves the processing of knowledge to pursue a course of action based upon individualistic reasoning. For example, two intelligent people can look at the same set of facts but infer different courses to take. Besides being able to gather and store data, an intelligent mind must also be able to use intuition, making leaps when connecting the dots, thus leading to new discoveries and ways of thinking.

If in some cases UFOs are space probes controlled by computer brains, they could exhibit what I call “dumb” intelligence. To us they seem to be intelligently controlled but are simply responding in a mechanistic way to a stimulus by following a prescribed set of instructions.

Or maybe such probes are smarter than that but are still “dumb.” Maybe they’re as intelligent as a dog, still having some sort of instinctive reasoning, able to learn new tricks, but that is kept under control by strict training. Such a probe would have more leeway in responding yet still be limited. Who knows, maybe an alien probe has a built-in invisible fence to keep Rover concentrating on his mission, sniffing out new life-forms.

And in those cases when an UFO is observed moving erratically, flying in a crazy pattern, it could be the invisible fence has failed for the moment and that Rover wants to play.

8 comments:

Mac said...

Good thoughts. And I love that comic! :-)

X. Dell said...

Well, there's Jacques Valle's example about the day in 1957 when beings appearing as gray aliens (dressed in military uniforms) attempted to take a dog from one person in Everettstown, NJ, and an hour later attempted to take the dog of a boy named Everett in Dante, TN. Vallee thought of the action as artificial intelligence, as if reacting to the broad command "Take dog from Everett."

There is a lot of that, with the grays acting in strangely stupid ways. Another example in UFO lore is the behavior of the Men In Black, who seem to be confused by such things as the workings of a ball-point pen.

alanborky said...

Interesting blog, Ray, but it mightn't even matter if such probes were far more intelligent than anyone on Earth, regardless of them being purely mechanical, bio-mechanical fusion/cyborgian, entirely biological, or whatever.

Because no matter how intelligent such a contraption/critter might be, it'd almost certainly be severely hampered by what's virtually a universal constant: the effect the culture it'd emerged from would have on its capacity to perceive and interpret the data it's deriving from the unknown culture it was observing.

Imagine you're the first person from the far off future to travel back to the present era in the hope of learning more about what life was like now, and the first thing you see is a man with a partially covered face sticking a knife into another man, before rifling his pockets.

Now in the era you've come from not only is the idea of the need for personal wealth unheard of but the thought of deliberately perpetrating violence on others merely to acquire it is inconceivable, so at first the scenario you behold is completely incomprehensible to you.

Then you ransack your memory for what little your era's archaeologists've managed to learn about our time, and you recall how there was a category of primitive witchdoctors called "the surgeons" who attempted to "heal" another category of individuals called "the sick" (though who or what "the sick" were is unknown since "sickness" doesn't exist in your era) by cutting open their bodies with primitive tools called "scalpels".

These "surgeons" were known to've worn ritual "face masks", and to've extracted from their "patients" something called "money" which was often carried in "pockets", so of course everything you've seen fits.

And now, to your delight, you realise the "surgeon", "scalpel" still in hand, has suddenly noticed you and is coming over to greet you...

A bit 'Strange Tales', yes, but itmakes my point.

Adrian said...

You should read Blindsight by Peter Watts. It touches upon these topics.

BoyintheMachine said...

Reminds me of BSG, current series, with the Cylond-Raiders being said to have the intelligence of dogs.

Note that it's possible, highly likely that if some probes are indeed 'dumb', then there masters are of a higher intelligence, be they another machine-intelligence or not.

-Jason
www.boyinthemachine.blogspot.com

Doug said...

I've seen some pretty smart dogs.

I'm just saying.

X. Dell said...

Um, Alanborky, I think I have sufficient enough experiene in the 21st century to recognize a mugging. But I get your idea on a much more limited scale.

Ray said...

ThanX to everyone for the comments. I would say more but I'm kinda groggy, didn't sleep that well last night. That damn flying saucer outside my window just kept barking...

Ray