A piece of intelligence

Written by: Onn fenig, General Manager at MusashiAI


“Cogito, ergo sum”.

Rene Descartes made his proposition “I think therefore I am” after realizing that the only thing he could be sure of was his own self existence, since otherwise he would not be able to think to begin with.

What seems to be an esoteric conclusion made by a 17th century philosopher, has a lot to do with how we perceive intelligence today. Actually, it even goes back to ancient Greece.

It turns out that modern perceptions of Intelligence still rely on concepts initially developed by Ancient Greek philosophers, who tried to create a solid foundation to human knowledge by promoting logic and critical thinking. This, in order to eliminate myths and prejudice about human existence.

The belief in critical thinking and logic as the fundamental basics of human thought eventually led to the development of the scientific approach and technological invention, which culminated in the industrial revolution and to modern conceptions of education.

The public education system as we know today was designed in the early 19th century, mostly in order to serve the needs of the industrial revolution. Its principles were based on the concepts of critical thinking and logic which have later become the basis for the definition of human intelligence as we know it. However, the concept of intelligence being solely limited to quantitative capabilities led to the flawed perception that intelligence could indeed be quantified.

Today, deep into the 21st century, our public education system still follows the principles rooted in the industrial revolution: placing children in classrooms and expecting them to sit calmly all day and find interest in a dogmatic, uniform, monotonous teaching process that sanctifies math and sciences as the determinants for intelligence and success.

In fact, the budget allocation of our educational system follows the same principle: first in line are quantitative disciplines and the sciences, and at the very bottom are the arts and sports. The general convention is that math and science are for the “intelligent” and arts and sports are for the less gifted.

Quantifying Intelligence. Indeed?

Alfred Binet, the French Psychologist, was one of the inventors of the IQ test (later revised by the Stanford Professor Lewis Terman) known today as the Stanford-Binet IQ test. This terrible invention that has served for years as the standard process to measure one’s intelligence, is responsible for one of the most unfortunate and biased concepts in modern education.

The IQ test assumes not only that intelligence is constant, something you are born with and cannot develop over time, but also that it can be measured with a single test.  Various studies made over the years have shown that under certain circumstances, people can actually improve their IQ score. This raises some disturbing questions about whether or not intelligence can be quantified to begin with and about the way we address intelligence altogether.

The Stanford-Binet IQ test as well as standardized testing (SAT tests and  the like) are still widely used by the global education system, including prestigious academic institutions such as Harvard and others, to determine people’s professional career and often their entire future.

The interesting and very unfortunate fact about these tests is that they measure only a very narrow aspect of our intelligence, the one related only to the ability to exercise certain quantitative and verbal thinking, which indeed measure certain aspects of intelligence - but certainly not all of it.

Psychologists today do acknowledge that intelligence cannot be measured by a single test and can come in various shapes and forms, suggesting there is verbal intelligence, quantitative intelligence, movement intelligence, emotional intelligence, musical intelligence, physical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence and maybe more.

Certainly, gifted musicians who developed successful international careers have a high level of intelligence. So do incredibly gifted athletes. Their intelligence is unfortunately not recognized because it doesn’t fall within the traditional narrow definition of intellect, limited to a very narrow aspect of the overall human capacity.

Because of this, children who are not gifted in quantitative or verbal skills but have unique artistic or athletic capabilities find it hard to succeed in our educational system.

Will Intelligent Robots eventually take our place?

Embracing the notion that intelligence is not limited to only quantitative and verbal capabilities will eventually enable individuals to pursue their natural talents without prejudice, and moreover - make a living out of it. A major enabler for this change is the technological development associated with Industry 4.0, dubbed as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’.

Advanced Artificial Intelligence technologies optimize the utilization of human labor by introducing intelligent machines that replace humans in performing rigorous, repetitive jobs. People are then free to focus on what they do best: engaging in solving complex problems that require the human X factor - intuition, compassion and creativity.

Machines enhanced by Artificial Intelligence will not replace humans altogether but will work side by side with them as assistive analytical tools, performance enhancers and cost reducers.

Artificial Intelligence will eventually reduce the cost of living and will serve as a tool for creativity, meaning it will enable artists, scientists, musicians, writers, CEOs and M&A experts to be even more creative and more effective.

MusashiAI was established in order to capitalize on these new theories and materialize them, offering Artificial Intelligence driven robotic workforce for performing the rigid and monotonous, and sometimes even inhumane tasks in manufacturing companies. We believe that if you are working like a robot, you will most probably be replaced by one eventually.

Repetitive tasks where machines have added value over humans should clearly be left to machines, enabling humans to practice human skills and human activities: creativity, problem solving, communication, art, taking care of each other, teaching the young and taking care of the elders.

Humanity is on the verge of a new era. An age of hyper connectivity, super-fast information transmission and abundant artificial Intelligence. An era with new rules.

In this new world, humanity will need more social workers, caregivers and elderly companions to help it make this transition. We will need more teachers in our education systems who can teach wisdom as opposed to knowledge (no one can compete with Google in teaching knowledge). Teachers who will embrace, nurture and encourage the utilization of each individual’s distinctive intelligence; who will encourage our children to develop their unique intellect in order to help them find their way and thrive in this new world.

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