Beyond the Usual AI and Machine Intelligence

the Beyond topics
  1. George Gilder –Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy worth reading to obtain additional perspectives. Some may be right, some may be wrong. Definitely technologically provocative. Will Google/Alphabet last?Do you know about the Dalles? You should. My first clue was through the book …OK … find out more about Google’s Data Centers. Find out more about other pieces worth knowing.

the Artificial and Machine Intelligence related topics

  1. Gelernter, D. (2016). The tides of mind: Uncovering the spectrum of consciousness. WW Norton & Company.
  2. Marquis, P., Papini, O., & Prade, H. (2014). Some Elements for a Prehistory of Artificial Intelligence in the Last Four Centuries. ECAI.
  3. Scheutz, M. (Ed.). (2002). Computationalism: new directions. MIT Press.
  4. Russell, S. J., & Norvig, P. (2016). Artificial intelligence: a modern approach.
    This is an updated edition of the 2010 version containing extensive current references. [note the book is getting hard to find sometimes due to demand, and its being the definitive AI textbook. Check the edition you are using/getting]
  5. Sutton, R. S., & Barto, A. G. (2018). Reinforcement learning: An introduction. MIT Press. This is an updated (2nd) edition of the 1998 version
  6. Nilsson, N. J., & Nilsson, N. J. (1998). Artificial intelligence: a new synthesis. Morgan Kaufmann.
  7. Poole, D. L., Mackworth, A. K., & Goebel, R. (1998). Computational intelligence: a logical approach (Vol. 1). New York: Oxford University Press.
    see also Artificial Intelligence: Foundations of Computational Agents 2nd Edition by the same authors.
  8. Pratt, V. (1987). Thinking Machines—The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. – this is a general history of earlier machines … great reference to get historical insights not easily obtained elsewhere.
  9. Turing, A. M. (1948). Intelligent machinery. NPL. Mathematics Division. See also, Turing, A. (2004). Intelligent machinery (1948). The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Life plus The Secrets of Enigma B. Jack Copeland, 395 which provides context and pointers to additional Turing resources.
  10. B. Jack Copeland (2004), Computability: Turing, Gödel, Church, and Beyond, The MIT Press.

Hard(er) Core Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction works

    1. John C. Wright’s Count to the Eschaton series is worth reading … provides interesting glimpse into a possible (far) future. It’s also fun to read … so good ideas and an interesting, universe spanning plot.

Concerning Superintelligence

These are my recommendations of key texts to read  if you really want to get familiar with   Superintelligence. 

SI-1. Good, I. J. (1966). Speculations concerning the first ultraintelligent machine. In Advances in computers (Vol. 6, pp. 31-88). Elsevier.

Irving John (Jack) Good was mathematician who worked with Alan Turing and made significant contribution to braking the Enigma codes. One could regard him as Turing’s statistician. Good later worked with British AI pioneer and computer designer Donald Michie. Good devoted much of his later life to research in Bayesian statistics. Goods paper cited above was the first to clearly spell out ultraintelligent machines and can be rightly viewed as the basis of the superintelligence discipline today. This paper stated:

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control

This short paragraph not only presages the idea of superintelligent AI, it also laid the groundwork for subsequent Paperclip Apocalypse scenarios and the drive for AI safety considerations. Good was particularly a credible messenger due to his early intimate and highly knowledgeable technical familiarity and experience with highly complex and capable computers.

SI-2. Bostrom, N. (2014). Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bostrom’s book was much waited by the superintelligence (SI) community, and in some respects provided the academic sanctioning of runaway-AI potential for harm, and AI-safety, as legitimate scholarly topics for discussion. In some ways the runaway SI apocalypse scenarios act to counterbalance Ray Kurzweil’s Exponentiality of all things technological and Singularity visions.

SI-3. Drexler, K.E. (2019): Reframing Superintelligence: Comprehensive AI Services as General Intelligence, Technical Report #2019-1, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford

This is a must read by Eric Drexler, pioneer of nanotechnology . This report projects a possible, if not likely, trajectory of AI development that envisions emergence of asymptotically comprehensive, superintelligent-level AI services. Drexler has been prescient regarding the importance of and trajectory of nanotechnology.

SI-4.Yampolskiy, R. V. (2015). Artificial Superintelligence: a futuristic approach. CRC Press.

While maintaining a focus on AI and superintelligence safety, Roman Yampolskiy brings additional dimensions to discussions of superintelligence. I am not quite sure why the need to use the term Artificial in the title and the discussion. Superintelligence is not now and will never be a normal or natural attribute; I view adding artificial to superintelligence as redundant.

The book includes interesting and useful discussions on topics such as AI-Completeness and AI-Hardness, Mind Design and associated taxonomies of real and speculative mind design space. Most of the intensity and depth of discussion though is focused on the harm that SI can bring (and according to the author and many of the references cited, viewed as very likely to occur.) The detailed references provided are exceptional. Personally, I would prefer to see more discussion of the positive aspects of SI and the hard problems it can and should solve first.

SI-5. Philip Larrey (2017), Would Super-Human Machine Intelligence Really Be Super-Human? in G. Dodig-Crnkovic and R. Giovagnoli (eds.), Representation and Reality in Humans, Other Living Organisms and Intelligent Machines , (Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics 28, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-43784-2_19)

Stanley & Lehman – Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned

Fascinating insights by Computer Science / Artificial Intelligence profs …

some have summarized their insights by writing: “only by doing activities that fulfill our curiosity without any pre-defined objectives, true creativity can be unleashed. They call this the ‘Myth of the Objective’: Objectives are well and good when they are sufficiently modest … In fact, objectives actually become obstacles towards more exciting achievements, like those involving discovery, creativity, invention, or innovation—or even achieving true happiness… the truest path to “blue sky” discovery or to fulfill boundless ambition, is to have no objective at all.”

some of Stanley’s and Lehmans insights:


  • “The flash of insight is seeing the bridge to the next stepping stone by building from the old ones. ”


  • “[Picbreeder] is just one example of a fascinating class of phenomena that we might call non-objective search processes, or perhaps stepping stone collectors. The prolific creativity of these kinds of processes is difficult to overstate”


  • “ measuring success against the objective is likely to lead you on the wrong path in all sorts of situations”


  • “You can’t evolve intelligence in a Petri dish based on measuring intelligence. You can’t build a computer simply through determination and intellect—you need the stepping stones. ”


  • “ambitious objectives are the interesting ones, and the idea that the best way to achieve them is by ignoring them flies in the face of common intuition and conventional wisdom. More deeply it suggests that something is wrong at the heart of search. ”



I find their books inspiring and insightful. Reframing questions and providing different lines of attack on AI and Search Optimization to Ambitious Goals …





Plant Intelligence – its true, they do have intelligence.

You can talk to plants and make them happy … yup, and likely they can return the favor!   Did you know that Francis Darwin specialized in Plant Physiology … and stirred the pot just like his dad did. Apparently both Charles and Francis were proponents of the idea that plants were intelligent. This is field is just now picking lot of steam! check

Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence  by Stefano Mancuso

Turns out Francis wasn’t terribly shy … Brilliant Green recounts Francis Darwin’s opening gambit …

on September 2, 1908, at the opening of the annual congress of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, he threw caution to the wind and declared that plants are intelligent beings.

also, take a look at

  • Trewavas, A. (2014). Plant behaviour and intelligence. OUP Oxford.
  • van Loon, L. C. (2016). The intelligent behavior of plants. Trends in plant science21(4), 286-294.
  • Marder, M. (2013). Plant-thinking: A philosophy of vegetal life. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Trewavas, A. (2016). Intelligence, cognition, and language of green plants. Frontiers in psychology7, 588.
  • Trewavas, A. J., and Baluska, F. (2011). The ubiquity of consciousness, cognition and intelligence in life. EMBO Rep.12, 1221–1225. doi: 10.1038/embor.2011.218
  • Trewavas, A. (1999). How plants learn. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences96(8), 4216-4218.
  • Thaler DS. 1994. The evolution of genetic intelligence. Science264: 1698-1699.√

A lot was motivated by Barb’s Nobel Prize talk –  McClintock, B. (1984). The significance of responses of the genome to challenge. Science 226, 792–801. doi: 10.1126/science.15739260

there’s more to this story … check later .

Coming up soon – in my book: Regarding Natural, Artificial & Other (?) Intelligences.

One of the main categories of discussion in this book is that of worthwhile tasks for AI. I will devote some time to stating some of the recognized questions, problems, and tasks. I will also mention some notable AI accomplishments and highlight a few of the recognized scholarly achievements. Another topic for discussion is the classification of Intelligences. What is Natural Intelligence? What is Artificial General Intelligence? What is Superintelligence? What about human measures such as IQ? G? What does the AlphaZero algorithm beating the best human players in Chess, Go and Shogi mean? Can the Paperclip Apocalypse really happen?

All these and more … coming soon …