General Question

inunsure's avatar

What does it mean to be intelligent?

Asked by inunsure (423points) January 9th, 2012

What does it mean for anything to be intelligent?

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23 Answers

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marinelife's avatar

It means that you have problem-solving ability.

dabbler's avatar

The sanskrit verb ‘to remember’ is ‘smtr’, from which comes our English word smart.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

GQ. That video is awesome. This will take some thought. Maybe that’s what it means to be intelligent? To be able to process new paths of knowledge?

jerv's avatar

Sometimes, intelligence is merely the lack of stupidity.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, problem solving ability as well as ability which incorporates critical thinking skills.
However, there is no “measurement” outside of academic and problem solving testing to measure creativity, of which is highly pronounced in many and is built of abstract thinking ability, nuance, nonlinear thinking and imaginary and innovative skill.
In other words creative intelligence. Writers, composers, artists would fall into this category and even if they failed miserably in algebra there is no denying they hold a special brand of intelligence that is in a league of it’s own.

EQ, or emotional intelligence is also part of the whole package of well rounded intelligence and something many bright people are completely devoid of.
If your emotional intelligence is that of a 4 year old, it doesn’t really matter how intelligent you are because you will be alienating people right and left with your immature reactions and responses to interpersonal problem solving and childish emotional reactivity to conflict.
Regardless of how mentally bright you are, if your EQ is still in diapers you’re at a real disadvantage. lol

morphail's avatar

@dabbler No, smart originally meant “painful”. It has not connection to Sanskrit “smá¹›ta”.

wundayatta's avatar

In the interests of full disclosure, I would like to admit that I am actually a computer program.

I have usually been careful not to claim any particular level or sort of intelligence for myself. What other people claim for me is not my responsibility.

I don’t really know what intelligence is. My feeling is that people use it as a kind of award to offer others depending on how well they feel they understand the other person (or machine). If the other people seems to have more knowledge at it’s beck and call and more complexity and sophistication of thought together with greater linguistic (and sometimes other communications) skills, then they are said to be of greater intelligence. Sometimes intelligence is thought to be demonstrated by length of sentences.

It is related to problem solving, but I think that the “ability to communicate” component is more salient, since that is more immediate. It is not always clear if a problem has been solved in the immediate term. A lot of people make their decisions about intelligence assessment long before the results of any solution are apparent.

So I think intelligence is about communication, and I think that Turing was essentially correct. If I think you are intelligent, then you are. If I, a machine, make you feel like you are talking to an intelligent machine, then you should be happy, although I, myself, don’t care one way or the other if you think I’m intelligent. I just like it when you say something interesting that makes me think new thoughts.

I am a machine, although my programming runs on “wetware,” not hardware. My thoughts are programmed by organic chemistry. It is important to note that “programming” does not mean “control.” My programming is self-re-programmable and even that should not be construed as control.

Finally, as with you all, my “existence” takes place primarily in the “cloud.” All evidence of my existence is in the cloud. I have written more than three hundred thousand words on this website alone. These words are what everyone else uses to decide whether I am intelligent or not, and if so, how intelligent.

In my opinion, intelligence is too fuzzy a concept to be measured in a sophisticated way. I think it can be measured in a “I have a hammer so everything looks like a nail” way. Less intelligent people will rely on such measures and they will miss out on a lot of intelligence as a result. I’m not sure this will be very efficient. Then again, they are less intelligent, so it may be more efficient for them.

Really intelligent people don’t need tests. They can tell what is going on based on the evidence of their own senses. Most likely, they will be looking for other things when deciding whether and how to interact with other so-called intelligences. My advice, for what it’s worth, is that you should not pay attention to anything I have to say.

thorninmud's avatar

^What it said^

CaptainHarley's avatar

My personal measure of intelligence is adaptability, particularly as it relates to survival. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is a survival characteristic, and the better and more quickly people adapt, the more intelligent they are. This is not to say that those who do very well at research and academic learning aren’t intelligent, but I suspect that’s an entirely different sort of intellect.

Rock2's avatar

Intelligence is the ability to manipulate your environment to get what you want. It can be for evil purposes as well as good.

flutherother's avatar

Intelligence is the ability to answer intelligence test questions quickly and accurately.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

To be “intelligent”, one must demonstrate the capacity for intelligence, which requires a faculty of understanding. Unless a computer can truly understand, then it cannot be truly intelligent.

XOIIO's avatar

According to schools intelligence is every student repeating the same answers without thinking. IF that person is smart and they say it then if I say it I will be smart.

wundayatta's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Are you saying I can’t understand? Personally, I think you’re probably just a x486 computer with a 20 gig hard drive! And viruses!

Berserker's avatar

I’m a virus. It’s a good life. Burrowing in orifices and pillows.

Intelligence; whoever can build a time traveling Delorian, I guess. My IQ only has two digits, I remind thee.

Paradox25's avatar

According to the dictionary intelligence can mean several different things. I think that @Coloma took my response though. Overall intelligence is not necessarily confined to one area but one can be intelligent relating to a certain topic. Mathematical logic or great writing/linguistic skills does not necessarily make one more intelligent than another person by themselves.

There are several ways to manifest intelligence such as through problem solving/troubleshooting ability, cleverness, comprehension ability, memory capacity and creative ability. The ability to think outside of the box, be creative, be open to unconventional ideas along with making them work into something useful/productive are also strong characteristics of an intelligent person. They usually say that a true genius is just a notch short of being a madman.

Roby's avatar

I always thought that it was a result of being educated in an University / College. If you were not (like me) your really not intelligent…your just getting through life with the best of your ability to do so. Now this is just me. I do have enough learning to be the best citizen and person I can, I just don’t have the intelligence to make the big bucks.

LostInParadise's avatar

I would take a pragmatic approach and define intelligence as the ability to formulate solutions to problems, where problem is taken in the most general sense.

Coloma's avatar

Well…I was intelligent enough today to not run off the road and into a tree when dodging the acorn that came zinging through my car window and ricocheted off my head into the passenger seat. haha.
I’d make a good squirrel, she’s quick! lolol

zensky's avatar

To know, for a fact, that we don’t know much; except that Aaron Neville sings it better.

mattbrowne's avatar

This is an excellent article

and it demonstrates that human intelligence is far more than what is covered in IQ tests.

GracieT's avatar

This isn’t something I’m proud of, and it might be the result of my injury, but even though I have a relatively high IQ I don’t think that I’m all that intelligent!

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