AI vs Human Intelligence

Decoding the science of Human Intelligence

That might seem like an unintelligent question, but yes, what constitutes human intelligence especially in a world now filled with a competing form, i.e., artificial intelligence (AI)? We should aim at having a deeper understanding of what makes us unique and human, and understand what can and cannot be replicated by AI.

The purpose of the article is therefore twofold, one is to have greater awareness and appreciation of human intelligence and the different angles and perspectives surrounding this complex topic. The second, is to better understand the risks and opportunities which come with the ever-popular AI narrative nowadays. Many people are getting concerned with the notion that AI algorithms will not only replace many jobs, but that ultimately this technology can turn rogue and start to control and deceive the human-race.

Defining Human Intelligence

Brain function

What is human intelligence?

Human intelligence can be envisioned as a three-dimensional model comprised of human cognitive ability on one-axis, problem-solving skills on another, and critical thinking skills on the last axis. Each of us is somewhere in the ‘space’ defined by these three variables. Our relative position in this space is established by intelligence tests, whose output is a number akin to your knowing your coordinates.

But we are not computers, we have the gift of creativity, emotion, and consciousness. Our unique form of intelligence benefits from these attributes, making human intelligence as unique as a fingerprint. Yes, AI can process information faster, it can be more efficient, it can self-learn, but at the very root, it is mimicking human qualities that cannot be programmed. This is fundamentally the shortcoming of AI.

No matter how much AI evolves, in my opinion, it will never be at the same level as human intelligence; henceforth, don’t fear AI but embrace the virtues and leverage the attributes which make you unique!

Cognitive Abilities

As we discussed, human intelligence is made up of cognitive abilities, such as perception, learning, memory and attention. This combination of mental capabilities have been found to be interrelated. If someone exhibits proficiency in one area, they are likely to display capability with the others too, fascinating.

Memory forms an integral element within this array: it can take two main forms, short term (being able to keep details for a brief period) or long term (the ability to save information over time), but also includes episodes recall and working recollection that involves keeping data active in your mind temporarily. Scientists use tools such as functional magnetic resonance imaging to study working memory.

These interconnected cognitive processes let us draw on our environment while problem solving and making decisions based on what we have learned along the way, demonstrating just how deeply embedded these properties are when evaluating human intelligence. Overall understanding improved by appreciating how cognition works together, providing insight into its intricate nature.

Problem-Solving and Reasoning

Our human intelligence is also characterized by the ability to solve problems, think logically, and make decisions. These are skills that depend heavily on how well our brain functions in certain brain regions (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the parietal cortex). If anyone is so inclined, there are vast medical research papers that expand on the neuroscience behind intelligence, but that is outside of the scope of this article. Suffice to say that a person’s brain function directly affects the quality of problem solving abilities.

Theories and Models of Intelligence

Intelligence concept

Psychological science has been hard at work, studying and understanding intelligence. Intelligence theories are numerous but can be largely grouped into uni-factor, two-factor, or three-factor theories. For general awareness here are some of the most prominent intelligence theories today:

  • CHC theory, named after some of the researchers, principally, Cattell, Horn, and Carroll

  • Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences

  • Sternberg’s triarchic theory

What I would want the reader to take away is, awareness of the open debate if there is one general intelligence or if there are multiple intelligences. For the theories of intelligence out there, there are counter arguments or criticisms from competing psychologists. Like most things in science, there are different views. We don’t have to decide but to be informed of the different views.

General Intelligence (g)

Charles Spearman first suggested the concept of general intelligence, or “g”, in which he observed that one underlying factor seemed to be present while measuring an individual’s performance on different cognitive tasks. Through conducting a factor analysis, his theory was supported as this single component could be identified and isolated from the others. By providing measurements through IQ tests and proposing that there is an influence of general intellect across all types of cognitive endeavors are two benefits associated with this idea. Some argue its accuracy when defining/measuring “general intelligence” as well as it disregards other forms of potential abilities.

Multiple Intelligences Theory

In contrast to the idea of general intelligence, Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences have multiple intelligences. Theory postulates that there are a number of distinct forms of intellectual ability and aptitude. This theory suggests several types including linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical skills, and visual-spatial abilities. Bodily-kinesthetic capacities, musical proficiency, interpersonal qualities ; intrapersonal resources as well as naturalistic competencies.

Critics have questioned whether this conception has not been tested via peer review or evaluated in any way which makes it unfalsifiable. Despite these assertions, Jerome Bruner commented that the various intelligences were ‘helpful fictions’ and argued that Gardner’s approach is so innovative compared to mental testers’ data analysis techniques that it should be applauded.

Triarchic Theory of Intelligence

Human intelligence is multifaceted, a concept that Robert Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence takes into account. This theory proposes three distinct yet interdependent components – analytical intelligence, creative intelligence and practical ability, all playing an important role in forming comprehensive understanding when it comes to intellectual capacity.

  • Analytical intelligence suggests the evaluation process towards judging, evaluating or comparing information.

  • Creative intelligence deals with identifying ingenious solutions for novel tasks as well as making new skills habitual.

  • Practical intelligence highlights how knowledge and skill can be effectively utilized under real-world settings together with the capability of adapting across different contexts. .

Measuring Intelligence: IQ Tests and Beyond

The perfect equation which is needed to succeed in life

IQ testing, which are standardized evaluations intended to assess an individual’s cognitive aptitudes and anticipate their execution in various areas, are frequently utilized as a method for estimating intelligence.

There are alternative measures that provide a more comprehensive perspective of human intelligence than traditional IQ testing does. These assessments strive to capture the wide range of capabilities encompassed by this concept, including emotional or social attributes too.

IQ Tests

IQ tests are instruments used to measure an individual’s mental acuity and anticipate their aptitude in various areas. The originator of the first legitimate IQ assessment was Alfred Binet, whose test set a major milestone for intelligence evaluations in 1904. Later on, a variation of Binet’s exam came to be known as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, which became standard practice for American evaluation during 1916.

These examinations have been adjusted by constructing uniform queries or activities that can be given out to different populations with varied backgrounds. This allows researchers to observe performances among these people so they may establish norms then use it as a basis when determining scores according to statistical standards like normal distribution rate.

Although there has been wide usage of such exams, criticisms against them still exist due to cultural biases associated with its implementation alongside its influence over definitions regarding intelligence itself.

Alternative Measures of Intelligence Testing

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of human intelligence, various assessments have been created which measure different aspects beyond IQ. These tests assess emotional and social intelligence evaluations using the Social Intelligence Scale:

  • an inventory designed to judge an individual’s ability on three related domains of social intelligence – Social information processing (SP), Social skills (SS), Social awareness (SA).

We should also have awareness of other specific intelligence tests which exist, such as:

  • The Turing Test (originally an imitation game now a method of inquiry in AI for determining whether or not a computer is capable of thinking like a human being – yes even computers get tested for intelligence).

  • Reverse Turing Test (whereby a human tries to convince a computer that it is not a computer via dealing with abstract concepts and challenges. An example of this is a CAPTCHA).

  • Specific to children, we have particular assessments such as the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (175 vocabulary test of increasing difficulty where the child listens to a word then selects one of four pictures that best describes the word’s meaning) & Kaufman Assessment Battery (measures four intellectual domains).

What AI Lacks, Humans Possess (Emotional and Social Intelligence)

Emotional intelligence is key

The capacity to comprehend, regulate and use emotions accurately in our relationships is a noteworthy part of human intelligence. This includes both emotional and social intelligence: the ability to identify one’s own feelings as well as those of others.

Emotional Intelligence

Human intelligence has an important aspect known as emotional intelligence.

This includes the ability to understand, interpret and regulate one’s own emotions while also recognizing those of others in order to make better decisions. It involves being mindful of one’s feelings when making choices, taking into account how they will affect people around them, managing irrelevant emotions, having insight on other people’s psychology and assessing impacts from a decision on any team or colleagues involved with it.

The components necessary for developing said emotionality are: self-awareness, regulation mechanisms, inspiration sources, capacity for sympathy towards others and social skills.

Social Intelligence

Social intelligence, or the ability to comprehend social cues and adjust behavior accordingly in order to obtain desired outcomes from interpersonal situations. It has many advantages including furthering relationships with other people, providing cognitive and emotional resources for proper psychological functioning as well as helping build meaningful connections between individuals.

To improve social competence, there are some effective methods one can implement such as listening actively, polishing sensory skills, assessing self-awareness and management abilities.


Who is more intelligent, AI or humans?

Yes, as noted AI has already shown its superiority to humans in various tasks, including strategy games and computations. It can solve problems faster than a human being, making it clear that AI is smarter than people. We have seen that AI surpasses us when measuring intelligence levels, which demonstrates the machine’s capacity for cognitive development.

That said, we are made in God’s image and we are set apart from creation, even the creation of computers. Our human intelligence is not only the sum of our cognitive skills, problem-solving strategies, reasoning, but our ability to express it using creativity, exercising logic, and having a general state of consciousness.

The times are fast changing, and technology which has been considered a friend, is starting to become a foe under the advent of AI. I believe that in light of the changing landscape, we should fear not, but use our mental ability, mental energy, specific abilities, and our unique human differences vis-à-vis AI to grow in knowledge and wisdom.

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