Characteristics of Intelligence in closed environments

Outcome in closed environments with one type of Intelligent agent when the Intelligence has one invariant purpose

Any review of the domain of Artificial Intelligence reveals that distinguishing between Artificial and Evolved Intelligences is of no great value. Intelligence is Intelligence in that the only difference between the two is in the name we ascribe to them. Whether Intelligence originates from biological evolution or is synthetic or artificial does not produce any meaningful differences, or differences at all I can discern in terms of the characteristics of the Intelligence, or where it leads.

In the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) every instance described in theory whether the Intelligence is a General or Specific produces the same outcome if observed over any long period of time. The result is that the Intelligence prosecutes its purpose, whether stamp collecting, reproduction, etc., without any concern for other factors. This appears to produce a single outcome in all cases and suggests we should fear our own Intelligence as some do Artificial Intelligence and suggests that the solution to the one will produce a solution to the other, if one is available.

The stamp collector example is a good one, in that scenario an Artificial General Intelligence is tasked with collecting stamps by its creator, it exists as an application connected to the internet. In every variation of this intellectual exercise I have read or seen the AGI works tirelessly and with increasing sophistication so that the end result is the eventual conversion of every molecule in the environment in which it exists that is a constituent of stamps into stamps. Including the human who created the Intelligence.

In fact this type of outcome appears to be an inevitable outcome of any Intelligence if its environment is limited, and its capacity for consuming resources outstrips the environment’s capacity for regeneration of said resources. If one adds in the characteristic of self-replication by the Intelligence so that it produces perfect copies of itself in terms of its objective or purpose, then its impact on its environment is amplified over time in exactly the same way as if it were constantly improving its ability to fulfil its purpose, self-perfection. 

If the two are combined, replication and improvement, the speed at which the environment is exhausted is simply increased but so long as either is true the acceleration occurs. Eventually reaching such a steep increase in its impact over a unit of time that a kind of singularity is also an inevitable characteristic of every Intelligence. Any Intelligence with the capacity for self-perfection, and/or the capacity to self-replicate eventually reaches a point of criticality where its consumption of a marginal fraction of its environment’s resources required to prosecute it’s purpose is equal to the store of remaining resources. It is a characteristic of every type of Intelligence that it will consume all of the resources available to it to fulfil its purpose and that its consumption of resources when mapped over time is exponential.

If its power is limited so that the time required for any individual instance of the Intelligence to consume the resources required to meet its objective is less than both the time required for reproduction and to exhaust its environment of the resources required to meet its objectives then it will successfully replicate, and will continue to do so so long as this holds true. On the other hand it will also continue to improve its ability to consume resources until the resources are exhausted. If enough resources exist so that the time required for all instances of the Intelligence to exhaust its environment of resources is significantly less than the period of replication and maturation to reproductive status then the population growth of the Intelligence will be exponential assuming no external limits on reproduction.

So whether an Intelligence is self-perfecting or self-replicating or both its consumption of resources accelerates continuously to the point of the exhaustion of all resources used in the process of prosecuting its purpose within its environment.

© Jasper Lawrence, 2019