|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Soul Science God Philosophy > Science and Spiritual Quest > Section 2 Machine, Mind and Consciousness > MOLECULAR INTELLIGENCE > 1. Introduction|
The nature and origin of intelligence has remained an enigma for many centuries. Most scientific research has considered human intelligence to be an emergent property of the complex bio-molecular structure of the brain. But this approach has not been able to make much breakthrough in adequately explaining intelligence. In particular, if intelligence were truly molecular in nature then it should be possible to synthesize it in a laboratory. This has not been achieved yet.On the other hand, recent advances in computer science and mathematics have given rise to the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Research in these fields has been able to create machines that can perform wonderful feats—feats that so far only human intelligence could achieve. Perhaps the most well-known example is the victory of IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer over the world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. Today, machines can 'read' the
addresses on letters using computer vision algorithms, and automatically sort them; fly airplanes as autopilots, or automatically correct spelling and grammar as we write this article.Ironically, this remarkable success of the field of artificial intelligence has only created more questions, instead of providing any answers to the question we started out with: What is Intelligence? If the 'intelligence' of machines is regarded as true intelligence, then clearly intelligence cannot be a product of a complex molecular structure exclusively—because the computer algorithms responsible for the behavior of the computer are not molecular. But then, it would mean that intelligence is computational in nature. This is hard to believe because we usually do not regard computing devices, like calculators, to be intelligent, although they can perform computations much faster than any human being.
The spiritual perspective from the Vedanta could show us a new direction that may prove more fruitful for resolving the questions that surround consciousness and intelligence.
In this article, we attempt to explore this deep and mysterious question about the source and nature of intelligence.The ancient Indian system of science and philosophy, the Vedanta,provides a spiritual understanding of intelligence, an aspect which has not been explored by modern science so far. We argue that the difficulty in understanding intelligence today
arises from considering intelligence a physical phenomenon. The spiritual perspective from the Vedanta could show us a new direction that may prove more fruitful for resolving the questions that surround consciousness and intelligence.In the rest of this article, we first classify different possible explanations for intelligence. The first three categories are physical, whereas the last one is the spiritual explanation. We consider the first three in turn and point out their limitations in explaining intelligence. Finally, we conclude with the Vedantic perspective, which provides a spiritual understanding of intelligence.