IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - March 2022 - 84

Feature
mentioned, Granger's AI research uses self-similarity
as driving the computational principles by which
the brain can be used as a guide for advancing AI.
Granger " believes creating [artificial] intelligence
has to start with a close study of the brain. " The brain
draws on the universe's love of self-similarity; " just
a few kinds of algorithms govern the circuits of the
brain. The same core computational systems are
used again and again in different sensory and cognitive
operations such as hearing and deductive
reasoning. Once these operations are recreated in
computer software and hardware, perhaps they can
be simply duplicated to create modules to simulate
different parts of the brain " [15], [16].
The dark side, implied in Barrat's title and subtitle,
of using the self-similarity of brain circuits to
advance AI is the ├╝ber-self-similarity-the second
law. Since the second law insists that no matter what
happens in the universe, the sum-total of drained
possibility, entropy, always increases, if it shrinks in
a particular system, or system of systems, as it is so
feeding on itself doing in the onrushing juggernaut of
AI and company, it must, and it will increase always
more in that system's environment. While intelligence
can successfully create goal-directed order
out of disorder, that order must and will be entropically
compensated.
How does this link to Wissner-Gross's proposed
definition of intelligence? Intelligence represents
the most competitively efficient, self-organizing concentration
of purpose-driven order out of scattered,
uncoordinated, yet potentially organizable matter
and energy whose ultimate purpose is to more effectively
give the second law what it wants-entropy;
in this case, it is entropy displaced into the environment
of the rising intelligent system. As ecological
thermodynamicist, Eric Schneider, and ecological
scientist and policymaker, James Kay (1954-2004)
succinctly put it in their article, " Order from disorder:
the thermodynamics of complexity in biology, "
we have order emerging from disorder in the service
of causing even more disorder [17], [18]. The displacement
of dissipation, the fundamental modus
operandi of Ilya Prigogene's " dissipative structures "
(more on this in a bit), entropically compensates
Wissner-Gross's intelligence as the means to maximize
future freedom of action. This has profound
implications for our future with advancing technology
at its cutting-edge AI research, development,
and profit-driven marketing.
84
Technology and the co-evolution of us?
Richard Yonck cites as examples our own
" co-evolution " with technology as the product of
maximizing future freedom of action. Our proto-human
ancestors developed, exploited, and passed on
to future generations the techniques of creating and
competitive advantage deploying sharpened stone
tools. He writes that edged stone tools date as far
back as 3.4 million years ago to our Australopithecus
afarensis ancestors whose brains were just a third the
size of modern humans:
The creation and use of edged stone tools was a
major milestone in early human history because it
sets us on a path that was to change our species forever.
Though we are hardly the first animal to use or
even fashion tools...human beings are the first, and
so far only, species to routinely transform natural
resources into tools and machines. In doing so, we
ourselves have been transformed...[Though it] is
likely they had an intellect only a little greater than
that of a chimpanzee...[for] this species to have
discovered how to put edge to stone consistently
and methodically and pass that knowledge on to
later generations is astonishing [2, p. 77], [19].
The generational passed along deployment of
sharpened edge stone tools fulfills in a major way
Wissner-Gross's characterization of intelligence. The
tool maximized the future freedom of action of our
proto-human ancestors enabling the butchering of
carcasses that allowed them to eat new types of food
and exploit new territories. Coupled to the evolution
of upright walking,4 it sets the stage for a great new
range of future opportunities whose exploitation
opened doors for further maximization of future freedom
of action in the development of ever more complex
brains, social networks, and agile bodies. As an
agent of power, it served as a competitive edge, literally,
and figuratively.
One can see the emergence of ever more efficient
forms of intelligence as networked self-similar patterns
that are embedded in the universe at its core,
driven as they are by the sustained maximization of
entropy as a causal force. As a maximizer of future
freedom of action, the very existence of gravity can be
4In his article, " What made humans smart " Nautilus editor, Kevin Berger, interviewed
Dartmouth College paleoanthropologist, Jeremy De Silva, author of First Steps: How
Upright Walking Made Us Human. De Silva specializes in the locomotion of the first
apes and early human ancestors. The subtitle of Berger's piece captures the gist of
De Silva's view that " Walking upright made our ancestors easy prey. It also made
them get smart " [20].
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - March 2022

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