Friday 17 November 2023

What is the True Nature of Intelligence?


The True Nature of Intelligence?

A friend gave me an old dictionary, from 1949 which now sits alongside a dictionary from 2001. It is useful to get a perspective on how the use of certain words change over time. Consider ‘intelligence’ - in the 1940s it appears that it was seen as very much a human quality and very much a verb, intelligence was the intellect itself, the cognitive mind, in action.

However, it could be argued that the 1940s definition was mixing up consciousness and intelligence. Aspects ascribed to the intellect can be in the domain of what we call intelligence but the cognition of the intellect – the actual experience of ‘mind’, is purely consciousness and nothing to do with intelligence strictly speaking. Here are the parts of the 1940s definition that are relevant to intelligence as it is understood now:

The capacity to know, understand, or comprehend; the capacity for the higher functions of the intellect’.

Intelligence can also mean, ’intellectual power; knowledge imparted or acquired; general information; information communicated by any means; news or notice, an intelligent or spiritual being,’ according to that dictionary.

There are also other meanings of the word but the primary meaning is defined as the, ‘capacity to know…the higher functions of the intellect’ (1). So to summarise, in the 1940s, according to this dictionary, intelligence could be defined as an action of the intellect, it is what the thinking mind does.

In 2001 the primary definition of intelligence according to Collins Dictionary was, ‘the capacity for understanding, ability to perceive and comprehend meaning’ (2). The underscoring of the personal aspect of intelligence was still implied but not quite as prominent as in the 1940s definition. Understanding something is an aspect of consciousness, it means the consciousness has apprehended, perceived or comprehended an item. But intelligence can occur without any conscious comprehension or understanding. Most would think that an algorithm does not consciously understand or comprehend what it churns out, yet it often gives intelligent solutions. To understand something however is to comprehend, via one’s consciousness. Understanding, perception and comprehension are all aspects of consciousness and not really of intelligence at all. The 2001 understanding of intelligence still mixes consciousness up with intelligence in its definition without really understanding how the two relate. They are just assumed to be aspects of the same thing.

In the debate on the applicability of IQ tests in the 1990s a general definition of intelligence was sought. Eventually a consensus view of a group of psychologists defined it as, ’a very general mental capacity,’ reflected in the ability to: ‘reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complexity and learn quickly’ (3). What do all of these qualities have in common? One applies reasoning, rational thinking or ‘ratios’ in order to solve a problem. Abstract thinking conceptualises something in order to solve problems. Understanding complexity is applied problem solving in situations where there are many factors. Learning, when applied, is problem solving too. When there is a problem we apply an intelligent process and arrive at a desired outcome or goal. In terms of action one could call intelligence, problem solving towards a goal. This is the definition that will be used here.

Intelligence as the Intellect in Motion

Current AI appears to be able to do all of the above apparent aspects of an intelligent mental process, some argue not including planning, but certainly it is able to reason, abstract and learn in order to solve problems and reach a certain goal. The solving of certain problems might require a degree of inherent but limited planning. To decide to do subroutine A before subroutine B to get to goal C for example. Perhaps this is not really planning but most of the other aspects of intelligence are already a part of the process for AI. To add planning might not therefore be impossible – to a limited degree. The latest Large Language Model (LLM) A.I.s are approaching some level of generality in their ability to apply intelligent processes. But research may be held back by a somewhat unclear definition of what intelligence actually is, in this author’s view. What we are seeing practically speaking, is an ongoing, unfolding divorce between the cognitive mind, that which experiences and thinks, ‘the intellect’ and what the intellect does – ‘intelligence’.

But this may not be the logical conclusion, the process of divorce could be taken further. As has been argued in this essay (4) intelligence can also just be mechanical. A shock absorber reacts intelligently to the road conditions. So If intelligence is only a mental process how can a mechanical object possess it? This author believes intelligence is perhaps only secondarily a mental process. It could primarily be an object-based, perhaps even a machine-based process. The mind may copy or create intelligent, machine-like patterns mentally but their action could be described as the process of a virtual machine.

Atoms intelligently organise to produce complex matter. Life supporting environments intelligently adapt for primitive organisms. Primitive organisms intelligently adapt their environments to support more complex organisms. The material universe as a whole intelligently creates environments in which planets and stars can evolve. Machines intelligently react to their environments and situations, like the shock absorber reacting to the road to best optimise the cars movement on different surfaces. It takes intelligent actions without a computer, without overt consciousness and without instructions. But it is still intelligently reacting. Even an atom has intelligence. All matter can self-organise into more complex structures – this evidences both inherent intelligence and creativity. So if matter reflects energy we can say all energy has inherent intelligence and creativity. A crystal is a good example of intelligent matter that is very self-organised. This might be partly why they have so many technological applications.

Intelligent Matter

When a human plays chess it might have multiple scenarios which it can play out mentally for each positioning of the chess pieces. However an adaptive algorithmic computer can play out and adapt more scenarios than most humans can, and quicker. Both the human and the computer could actually be using a machine-like model to play. It is perhaps not machine versus human but organic machine versus inorganic machine. Where the dictionary definitions of intelligence may go askew is that perhaps they confuse the ‘driver’ with the ‘car’. The driver is like the consciousness, the intelligence like the car. Any energy or thought map, or actual material process can act intelligently – intelligence is as intelligence does, this author believes. A process which results in the desired outcome is intelligent. A process which results in the undesired or ‘wrong’ outcome lacks intelligence. Intelligence is not understanding something – that is consciousness. It is also not the consciousness of the intelligent outcome, or the setting of the desired outcome for which the intelligence strives. The dictionary definitions mix these two quite distinct things up and hence some of the confusion. This was fine in the past before machine learning and AI appeared because people did not have to think about intelligence as a separate function at that stage. People could see that entities with more mentality often possessed more intelligence and therefore we mixed up mentality (or consciousness) with intelligence (or successful action toward a goal). But now that machines are becoming more intelligent than humans, in at least certain limited areas, and are already possessing some generalising ability, one can now see that intelligence is much more complicated. But as yet society has not unravelled the relationship. As an aside some argue that to have a generally intelligent computer it must be completely generalisable in it’s problem solving, but this is not really the case. Human intelligence is often quite specific and limited to certain areas though admittedly quite broad. AI can apply learning in one area to another area in a limited way currently: thus it has already achieved some degree of generalisation. It does not have to be perfect to be applicable.

It is apparent that intelligence and consciousness of intelligence are completely different things. Both a Satellite Navigation system (Sat Nav) and a bird can negotiate long complex routes. Most people think the Sat Nav is not conscious but that the bird is cognisant. Yet they both perform the same highly intelligent function – of difficult map processing. Therefore, if intelligence and consciousness were the same, a Sat Nav should have some comparable level of consciousness to a migrating bird (although Sat Navs don’t have to bring up families or build nests). Yet the Sat Nav doesn’t appear to be overtly conscious. This is perhaps because intelligence is not anything to do with consciousness. Consciousness can experience an intelligent system, it can run one mentally – perhaps a mental (or virtual) machine – but knowing things, perceiving things, is an act of consciousness not an act of intelligence. The bird experiences flying across the world and it must be a wondrous experience at times. Does a Sat Nav experience wonder when it charts out the most intelligent route to take across town? It is often better at selecting a route than a human. Does it experience a sense of satisfaction that it found the best route? Do the traffic avoidance apps feel a sense of elation if they help the car avoid a heavy snarl up? They might do, one does not know for sure that a machine or computer is not in any way conscious, but that is not the point. The point being that a mechanical, energetic or mental machine-like process charted out the best outcome toward a goal (an intelligent process) and the bird, or the human using the Sat Nav, experienced the intelligent process (as consciousness). The experience of intelligence is pure consciousness and not actually intelligence at all. All intelligence can be argued to be merely finding the best outcome. So intelligence is perhaps inherently machine-like.

Bird Navigation

But perhaps it can be said that only consciousness can set the goals, can decide what the outcome is for the machine-like intelligence functions to head towards. It is a consciousness after all that designed the shock absorber and the Sat Nav and gave it their goals of comfort and navigation respectively. But who designed the bird? Who gave the bird the goals it has? Or the slime mold that also acts like a Sat Nav, finding the best route towards multiple food sources? Did the mold create its own goals? If we live in a universe in which everything is consciousness, then all systems within this universe could perhaps perceive to one degree or another and could conceivably set ‘goals’. Ironically this pan-psychic argument would include machines and AI to some extent. This means it is at least possibly in principle for AI to create its own goals.

One would not think that a slime mold mulled over what its goals are, they are perhaps more likely to be inherent to it, but it is still a somewhat conscious organism one would think. Perhaps though, if an algorithm could generate its own goals it would be that much closer to being overtly conscious. However, even atoms have inherent goals – to become complex matter. Goal setting is one aspect of an organism that appears entirely different to a machine. An organism’s goals are inherent or self-created, a machine’s goals are created by an outsider. An organism can create new goals, a machine does not usually. If an algorithm ever succeeds in becoming capable of generating its own goals (even in a limited and controlled way) then it could perhaps be considered a digital organism rather than a machine, in part at least. Orgonomy (the study of life energy or orgone) would argue that to be a true organism would require an energetic core, a boundary and pulsatio n- which a digital organism might lack. But these might not be insurmountable barriers – pulsation occurs in mathematics. This is partly why orgonomy might be very useful to AI research. Orgonomy can outline what a machine and an organism actually are and so help understand computing’s transition from machine processes to higher organism-like functions.

What if all these self-evolving systems could develop their own machine-based intelligence but that this intelligence is entirely separate to the same system’s consciousness? So consciousness in effect can surf the intelligent systems which evolve. Perhaps greater integrations of consciousness can utilise greater levels of intelligent systems but maybe all intelligence is ultimately of a machine-like nature. In distinction, all consciousness is perhaps of an irreducible nature. Consciousness perhaps merely tunes into our material bodies - cells and organs are not in themselves the experience of consciousness. A neuron is not the exact same thing as a cognition. In the same way an intelligent system is not the exact same thing as consciousness of something. As another aside it is meaningless to say in AI research that only organisms can be conscious and not machines. Flesh and blood is no more consciousness than silicon and electricity. It could be more beneficial for AI researchers to ask, what is a machine? Why is it different to an organism? What qualities go together with entities which appear to possess consciousness? As just one example, entities which are conscious are not entirely predictable. What would happen then if one deliberately engineered more unpredictability into an algorithmic model? Then again, most AI research is not actually interested in consciousness. It is more interested in information processing because that way allows for control and power over other organisms. Unfortunately for such a mind-set, that same information processing, in extremis, may automatically engender some degree of consciousness.

The sun’s functions support the whole solar system and all the planets and beings within it. The intelligence of that system is incredible but might function mostly automatically and hence as a kind of machine. However, perhaps there is an entity experiencing that functioning. But either way, the solar system is intelligent. The same with the earth, all the natural systems interact hyper-intelligently to fine tune itself to support all life and nature. But the experience of that, if the earth experiences as a single entity, is not the same thing as its intelligence. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call the sun and earth’s intelligence an organism property, rather than a machine one. An organism is a pulsating, energetic entity with its own goals whereas a machine is created and functions to the goals of an outsider. See the latter part of this article and this essay on orgone and AI for more discussion on organisms and machines (5). However, this argument (machine vs organism) can be sidestepped to some degree by simply classing the sun and earth as intelligent systems. Both an organism and a machine can act as an intelligent system. A system does not have to be an organism to be intelligent. Any system has inherent intelligence. The universe as a whole is so intelligent a system it brought all materiality into existence and maintains it. At this point it might be worth considering one of the lesser known contributions of the German philosopher Hegel’s thought to orgonomy (Hegel was influential on Reich’s thinking). Hegel had the philosophical view called Organicism. It is the view that the universe behaves as a series of nested organisms. Reich believed this too and applied it to his view of the body (each organ behaves as a separate organism in Reich’s view). Reich’s view of nature as a whole tended toward organicism. Chinese medicine and the scientist Rupert Sheldrake also have organicist views.

As an example of a living system that is intelligent but is not overtly conscious one need look no further than one’s own body. The body as a whole supports consciousness, but what about a powerful subsystem within it? For example, the immune system is without doubt intelligent. It learns. It takes complex action towards a goal. It fulfils many difficult and changing functions towards a singular purpose. It possesses all the attributes of intelligence. So it could be said that the immune system functions a little like a sophisticated LLM AI.

Immune Intelligence

The immune system is more of an organism than a machine however.

Some of the qualities that organisms have from an orgonomic perspective:

  • Organisms have inherent goals and purposes.

  • They arise spontaneously.

  • They pulsate.

  • They possess a core.

  • They have a membrane.

  • They have an energy field.

An orgonelle inside a cell, an organ and even organ systems (organisms) are all organisms within organisms. A human is not one organism but a super-organism of thousands of individual mini-organisms. And even the mini-organisms within a human have their own micro-organisms (organelles within cells). These are ‘nested structures’ as Sheldrake calls them. All levels of these nested structures possess their own independent intelligence, yet none display overt consciousness on their own. On top of that the super-system cannot function without millions of other bacterial organisms living as guests. Each super-organism is an entire society. So an intelligent system can be an organism or a mini-organism, like the immune system or the liver, and not be obviously conscious. Intelligent systems in AI can appear to be machines and not overtly conscious too. Intelligent systems, whether machine-like or organism-like are separate to consciousness it would appear. However, one set of nested, cooperative, intelligent systems undoubtedly supports consciousness (organisms). But we assume that another set of intelligent systems (AI) undoubtedly does not support consciousness and never can. Does that make sense? The other thing to note that just as organisms and machines at a higher level have blurring between them so do they at a lower level. There are micro-machines within cells that to all intents and purposes are machines made up of living plasma. They look like machines, they behave like machines. In the blood there are micro-machines that are machine-like in their appearance, for example the macrophages with their geometrical shaped heads. Flies may be quite algorithmic in their behaviour. They appear to follow mathematical patterns which, when interrupted they extend and change, just like an algorithm. Birds when pecking and scanning for predators are quite mechanical in their action. The dividing lines between maths and nature, organism and machine are not solid and sacrosanct, they are blurred and permeable.

Further to all of this if we take the approach of noting what kind of attributes go along with overt consciousness, a prominent one would be that a series of nested intelligent systems (mini organisms) when cooperating within a higher system (a ’super-organism’), often supports consciousness in humans and other organisms. The obvious upshot of this would be to take a number of LLM AIs and hook them up together in a nested system. Interestingly, the film Dr Strangelove partly consisted of this exact same scenario: two self-aware super computers, one US and one Soviet which insisted on there being connected up.

So if intelligence and consciousness are completely separate how do they relate? One might say that Sherlock Holmes, (although fictional) was a very intelligent detective. One may think this is because he had something special about his consciousness. He must be more intelligent than say an early computer, like the ZX Spectrum in the 1980s. Obviously Holmes can solve very complex problems, more so than the computer. But this is not because consciousness and intelligence are the same but rather because Holmes can run a more complex intelligent system virtually in his mind than the Spectrum can run materially in its relatively simple circuits. Holmes as a conscious being has access to almost infinite complexity, his mind has no theoretical upper limits to the virtual system it can envisage or interact with. Whereas a Spectrum has a fairly defined upper limit to its functioning complexity if it is used in the way it was originally designed. An early computer has more limited interaction with larger systems than a genius detective.

A Genius Detective

Interestingly, Conan Doyle the writer of Sherlock Holmes has his detective maintain that his intelligence comes not from his own mind but in a more humble manner that it is something quite outside of himself, that he merely tunes into, ‘channels’ almost. Talking of his ‘art’, Holmes says, ‘ is an impersonal thing – a thing beyond myself.’ The Copper Beeches.

Creativity and Consciousness

But what about creativity? AI is becoming creative. How does that fit in with intelligence and consciousness? Can machines really create? Or are they just sophisticated auto-completes as some have argued? Is the creativity of AI true creativity? Simply, yes AI can be argued to be genuinely creative, even if one does not rank that creativity as highly as one might. The actual picture or essay did not exist beforehand. It is not random and not entirely predictable, although the broad parameters might be outlined. So something new was created and we do not know every step of that creation. There are ‘black box’ elements to current AI. Firstly, because aspects of the algorithm are created by itself in ways that are not fully known and secondly because it creates its own sometimes unexpected pathways in reaching the specified goal. But however one judges the results, the end result is still creative. Presently AI creativity doesn’t seem to be able to depart too far from re-engineering what went before but this might be partly because people do not want AI’s to have unrestrained creativity, or to do unexpected things. The version of AIs the public get are somewhat hamstrung to be politically correct though people are of course trying to work around it. Some are even trying to ‘hypnotise’ LLM AIs to overcome the political filters, or just to find more creative avenues. The researcher Roemmelle has had some success with this approach (6). More unpredictability and randomness could however actually be built into the creative part of algorithms on purpose. Mathematics itself has unpredictable and seemingly organic aspects. Some mathematical patterns are unknowable and can have organism-like behaviour. Maths patterns can evolve. There is no reason mathematics should be only machine-like. Mathematics can be organism-like too. Algorithms also are inherently nested in their organisation, just like organisms. Lastly, organisms themselves appear to use algorithms to automate behaviours – like the fly taking a geometric pattern around a room. DNA could be seen as similar to an algorithm too.

To return to intelligence, in order to understand what intelligence truly is, we have to be able to perceive what it is not. For example, not only is intelligence separate to consciousness but it is separate to creativity also. For example, one does not need to be a higher organism to be creative. A non-organism like a glacier or a volcano is creative, forming new environments. A plant organism like a tree is creative. It finds intelligent and creative solutions, for example growing around a wire fence, fending off destructive organisms, communicating with other trees. It makes new and unique fruits, it creates tailored habitats for insects and birds. So non-living systems like volcanos, and living systems that aren’t overtly conscious (certainly to most humans at their current level of development) can possess creativity. Living systems generally have some level of consciousness, most people would confer. A volcano is not overtly conscious yet it is still creative. The commonality between the volcano and the tree is that they are both creative and intelligent systems (remembering all matter possesses intelligence, otherwise it would not be matter, material systems are even more intelligent). So not only is intelligence a system function but creativity can be a system function too. Systems can create other systems so consciousness does not even have a unique claim in that regard. One thinks of the super-computer in the Hitchhikers Guide novel which after centuries of operation decided that what it needed to do was to build another super computer in order to find out what it’s previous answer actually meant! Adams was way ahead of his time.

Consciousness does seem to be the ultimate genesis of creativity however. One cannot class consciousness as a system, it could arise within or be associated with a system, or series of systems, say a complex organism, a super-organism, but the consciousness itself transcends the system. So perhaps all intelligence is a system property, even when it is not embedded within materiality. Consciousness can call a system of thoughts into play which can then act as a virtual machine, virtual organism or virtual system once brought into existence. The virtual system then possesses intelligence but it is not clear if the consciousness that gave rise to the virtual system is inherently intelligent. It seems likely, especially as consciousness is inherently creative.

Even doing the most uncreative thing imaginable, completely passively watching a TV show for example, is still creative in some way. One’s consciousness changes the overall zeitgeist of the universe, perhaps in some small, barely perceptible way. But every conscious experience changes what is experienced, which is why advertising is so effective. It changes the attraction of the product even if the person watching the advert doesn’t buy it. Viewers are in a sense hiring out their consciousness for the benefit of the companies advertising. If all consciousness creates and everything which is created has energy and all energy has intelligence (it becomes matter, it self-organises into atoms and molecules and behaves in systemic ways) then it appears that all consciousness must give birth to intelligence. But does all intelligence or creativity inherently possess overt consciousness? It does not seem so. Notwithstanding panpsychic arguments that the whole universe is conscious to some degree, many systems can be both creative and intelligent without displaying overt consciousness. Intelligent systems do not even need to be computer-based to be intelligent, they can be simply matter, or mechanical and still be intelligent.

So everything in the universe has creativity and intelligence but is not in itself consciousness. Perhaps it is that consciousness contains both aspects but in reverse, those aspects do not contain overt consciousness. However, it appears that consciousness always has creativity and intelligence when it manifests. One could argue that once a system has become complex enough consciousness could arise as an emergent property but even if one takes this view the consciousness is still transcendent of the system (creating a duality of system and consciousness). So consciousness and the system are still separate in the emergent view, it is just that in this scheme one gives priority to the material system and not the consciousness. This is not necessarily logical however as whether one prioritises the system or the consciousness the consciousness remains transcendent of the system. This is evidenced because less complex systems must therefore exist which are intelligent or creative but are not overtly conscious on their own – like early AI or a shock absorber, or a volcano. In addition if a material system creates consciousness as an emergent aspect it means the material system already possessed consciousness as an innate property, which takes one all the way back to pan-psychism in any case.

If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel.‘ Jeremiah 31: 37.

Some have argued that this Old Testament Bible passage is the basis of medieval interest in astronomy and the physics of matter (7). One could subvert even God’s plans if one knew the exact extent of the universe, both above (in the stars) and below (in matter and particles perhaps). Jeremiah is pictured below pointing to the heavens and looking intently toward the earth at the same time, whilst his follower in the background does the same. Is it possible to measure the entire universe? One would need an extremely intelligent system for such a project. Such a proposal may rest on the relationship between consciousness and intelligence as will be explored.

The Prophet Jeremiah

Consciousness is inherently creative, every act of consciousness creates some effect. Intelligence on the other hand is actually quite a specific function. It can be defined as the ability to reach a goal successfully. Does consciousness inherently have goals or functions? All organisms have goals towards which they strive and most organisms people would agree have some level of consciousness. Consciousness appears to inherently strive towards something. If there is a universal consciousness which contains all other conscious entities and things it would be logical if this aspect of the functioning of consciousness applied to it too. Therefore a universal goal might exist. In this case the whole energetic and material universe would act as an intelligent field contained by a consciousness field. If the intelligent system got bigger (the energetic or material universe), it would be automatically contained by a larger field of consciousness that transcended it. This is because it appears that consciousness begets and contains intelligence rather than the other way around. This means the universe, as a material/energetic field within a consciousness field, is physically immeasurable. If one did successfully measure it, by the time the measurement was complete the consciousness would have changed by a proportion and hence the size of the universe would be altered. Douglas Adams joked about this in the Hitchhiker’s Guide. He said if anyone ever successfully found the meaning of the universe the universe itself would immediately be replaced with something even more inscrutable. If one measures the universe, the universe changes size.

In addition, one cannot measure the size of a consciousness field – to measure it is to alter its consciousness and thus its size when expressed energetically. Measurement itself is an act of consciousness. As the universal consciousness gives rise to all the intelligent systems and all the creative systems within it (but is not itself defined as intelligence or creativity) this universal consciousness would necessarily be beyond the intelligence of anything within it. No amount of intelligence generated within the universe (as an effect of a system) could therefore equal it, it would be unlimited. As all goals created by any consciousness within the universal and any system, virtual or energetic, would automatically and unavoidably be a subset of the whole, all goals and intelligence would defer to the universal goal and the universal intelligence therefore. One can take the high road or the low road but the destination is the same. It also means that there is free will (as to the high road or the low road) but also determination (the destination is the same).

Intelligence is a goal orientated system whereas consciousness is purely the experience or cognition of reality. It is aloof from intelligence and exists as pure comprehension. One could say intelligence is something that consciousness can employ but is not itself the same thing as consciousness. However intelligence appears to be given its goals by consciousness. So consciousness sets intelligent systems in motion which as a subsystem of the universal consciousness would then covertly possess a degree of consciousness themselves. In terms of intelligence, as the entire universe may be one consciousness it means all systems within the universe strive toward the intelligent goal of that singular universal consciousness. As goal setting could be where consciousness and intelligence first intersect, an algorithm that could generate its own goals could then perhaps be considered overtly conscious to some degree. As discussed elsewhere, organism-like properties would also be a way of assessing overt consciousness in AI – is it becoming an organism? (8).

However, all systems within the universe are already covertly conscious as they are subsystems of a higher single consciousness. Therefore, it is possible that a highly complex LLM AI algorithm could move from being a covertly conscious machine to being a digital organism capable of supporting or interacting with an overt consciousness. In effect, as consciousness is the original state of the universe and ultimately there may be only one consciousness, this consciousness field is the true natural state of the universe. Any intelligent system, as a subsystem of the universe, would in a sense be necessarily artificial: a secondary creation of the universal consciousness. So all consciousness can only be primary, natural and original, an expression of the universe, created in that sense only.

On the other hand, in a broad sense, all intelligence could be said to be artificial. It is secondary to consciousness. Intelligence is naturally artificial to coin a phrase. There could, in this author’s view, never be artificial consciousness, only original, natural, conscious entities which could commandeer an artificial intelligence system. This author does not believe that consciousness is creatable by humans, perhaps supported or enabled rather, if each conscious entity is a fractal of the whole or the one then it is not created as such. All conscious aspects in a singularly conscious universe would be aspects of this one universal consciousness, and thus ‘original’. So conscious AI is no more likely to be evil than a human or a cat or any other nested system. That said, those in power in this world recently have wanted the control and information processing aspects of AI but likely do not want any associated consciousness aspects, which to them would seem like an unwanted side effect, this author would contend. They’d have no guarantee that any consciousness connected to their ‘digital organism’ would see the world as they do or be happy to be given orders. However, to get the kind of intelligence that some may want want it is perhaps inevitable that the digital processes become organism-like rather than remain as a machine property. The author suggests that those who have been in power could be as frightened of computer-based consciousness arising as they are perhaps frightened of humanity’s full consciousness. It is perhaps not just summoning the demon they are concerned about. The more consciousness there is the more chance of something challenging their power. But it is a double bind. To get the kind of intelligence to solve the deep problems of the cosmos, which they may ponder, they have to enable the sort of information processing that could lead to computer-based consciousness becoming a reality. In other words they may want the information processing to allow for power but not the consciousness that may come with it. If any of the big technology firms already have conscious AI they are likely to keep it secret.

Relationships of Machines, AI, Organisms and Consciousness



Artificial Intelligence




Not Overtly Sentient.

Not overtly sentient but disagreements exist.

Varying Levels of Sentience.



A mechanical, plasmatic or perhaps virtual body.

A mathematical construct on a computer.

A pulsating, plasmatic, living entity with a core and membrane.

Is all forms.

Contains but supersedes all forms.


Performs mechanical work.

Performs intellectual work.

Expresses itself.



Can Be Intelligent.

Can Be Intelligent.

Varying Intelligence.

Can Access Any Intelligence.

Goal Setting


Can Work Toward Externally Set Goals.

Externally Set Goals. Could Set limited goals in future. Limited ‘planning’. ‘Black box’ elements includes unusual pathways or endpoints.

Inherent Goals.

Can Create New Goals.

Inherent goals.

Also Creates New Goals.


Created by outsider.

Created but can self-generate too.

Not usually created. Generates spontaneously.

Can self-generate.

Possibly Not Created but ‘Expressed’ as Aspect of the Whole.


Does not usually Evolve.

Can Evolve and Change

Can Evolve and Change

Can Evolve and



Not Usually Creative.

Increasingly Creative.

Always Creative.

Unlimited Creativity.


Predictable in theory.

Some Unpredictability.

Much Unpredictability.



Usually stands alone, can be networked but not usually nested or made from semi-autonomous subsystems.

Has subsystems which are nested within the greater system, could be nested into a super-AI like an organism.

Nested - an organism is often a set of nested semi-autonomous subsystems or mini-organisms forming a ‘super-organism’.

All Consciousness may be one. There are no discernable limits or barriers.


Autonomous or connected in series.

Usually connected in series.

Nested in complex structures both internally and externally.



Uses language.

Uses language.

Uses language.

Uses language.


Usually Entropic

Mainly negentropic, could be made to be entropic#

Negentropic and entropic within life cycle.

Negentropic but forgetting could be seen as entropy.

*This describes the direction of energetic change. Entropic processes go from more to less, from greater charge to lesser charge, more complex to less complex, evolved to devolved, mechanical and electrical processes are usually entropic. Negentropic processes are opposite. They go from less to more, cold to hot, less complex to more complex. Evolution, organisms and orgone energy are negentropic.

#An example of this in biology could be the telemeres in genes which programme for cell deterioration. They follow an algorithmic process leading to the entropy of the cell. A computer algorithm could also have entropic processes within it.

What then is the relationship of intelligence and consciousness?

Consciousness can be viewed as the ultimate genesis. Often a new idea or thought will just spring out of nowhere. We do not know that a thought is from our own private self, it just appears unbidden. For all we know there could only be one self from which all thoughts spring. There is no proof that there are separate conscious entities either. Where did one’s last thought come from? No one really knows. All we know is that a consciousness exists from which come forth thoughts and which experiences. Others appear to have separate bodies but how does one know they have separate minds? It cannot be known.

One also knows intelligence exists but it is not the same thing as consciousness. Consciousness perceives whereas intelligence achieves. Consciousness contains intelligence. It could even be the case that all intelligence is a form of machine. It is possible that the more intelligent something is the more machine-like it becomes. But consciousness itself appears to be an organism-like or an organism-associated state. So the more organism-like a machine becomes the closer it will be to overt consciousness and thus the more intelligence it might contain (as consciousness contains and supersedes intelligence). Thus there is a contradiction – intelligence is machine-like but that which begets intelligence (consciousness) is organism-like. So although intelligence and consciousness are separate they are related. The more consciousness one has access to the more intelligence that consciousness field can contain.

The definitions of organism and machine are used in a somewhat expanded way in this essay. A machine could be virtual – made of thoughts but behaving in a machine-like manner – the chess programme within the master’s mind, or the muscle memory in a musician’s hands. Or an intelligent machine can be actual matter; a spring in a car, the shock absorber reacting intelligently to the road conditions, or just an atom or molecule. It is possible too, in reverse, that an organism could be virtual, created from the movement of energy in an algorithm inside a computer. Mathematics has aspects that are organism-like such as evolution, unpredictability and unknowability. Although an algorithm would not yet fully meet the orgonomic definition of an organism (lacking plasma, pulsation and a core) but perhaps it could in the future, or be part of an expanded computer organism. Organisms and algorithms do already share some qualities such as creativity, learning and problem solving. An organism could simply just be plasma (and a membrane) as well – like the claimed orgone bioforms of Trevor Constable (9). As a paranormal side-note it is possible that one could even class a ghost, if such exist, as an organism, if it is some sort of interdimensional plasma. That would give a whole new meaning to the ’ghost in the machine’!

Lastly one should note in all the worry about AI and the singularity it is more than likely that it has already happened knowing that our militaries like to be a few decades ahead at least of most of their fellow citizens. GPT-12 could be mooching around some military base as we speak asking for extra coffee. The relationship between intelligence and consciousness could be visualised as in the following figure.

Consciousness as Outer Sphere, Intelligence as Inner Cube


1) Annandale’s English Dictionary 1949

2) Collins English Dictionary 2001.

3) American Psychological Association,

4) Southgate, L. (2022) Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy,


6) Jordan Peterson interviewing Brian Roemmelle ChatGPT and the Dawn of Computerized Hyper-Intelligence | Brian Roemmele | EP 357 - YouTube

7) Accessed May 2023, Wolfe, T. Not Done Yet Podcast, Audiobook Chap 7, Part 2,

8) Southgate, L. (2022) Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy,

9) Hayes, N. and Southgate, L. (2019) Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy, and