What Constitutes Human Intelligence?

A look in the future Speculation of a world where the 5 path of A.I. development* (according to Nick Bostrom) have been realized, and the potential unitended effects that the paths could have on both nature, and our own ‘human intelligence’ and psychological health.

When examining the ideologies and narratives driving the A.I. industry, with my team we chose to focus in particular on ideas of what constitutes human intelligence. What we found was an over emphasis on left brain thinking, and a disregard for our own embodied, emotional intelligence. Through speculative design, we asked: What kind of a world might this thinking and technological development create, and what might be ways to explore counter narratives?

*The 5 paths: iteratively self-enhacining, whole brain emulation, enhacemnet of our biological brain (genetic modification), human machine interface (e.g. implants: for perfect recall, etc..), networkd and organizations.

Role: researcher, filmmaker, and animator. 
Team: Dani V. Sanchez, Johanna Tysk, Mikei Huang, and Carolina Corseuil.
Advisors: Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby.

A new world
Face it!’  is a problem management A.I tool that models actors across various scales, representing the inner lives and perspectives of individuals, society, and the non-human.  

We created a speculative world where these 5 paths had been realized as the mean with which we would test and speculate.   We therefore developed the worlds of extreme doing (left brain, pro-tech) and extreme being (right brain, anti-tech). To further explore these worlds, we so delved deeper into character development and fictional writing, where we each developed one character (two from each world).

To create this world we used polarity mapping to understand the multiple perspectives in thinking. Opening up the conversation around the importance of on the one hand balance between the two types of intelligence, emotional and reational, but also helping create a scenario that allows us to question what we want to see in the future with A.I. in realtion to ourselves.

Polarity Map A polarity map is used to map “unsolvable dilemmas”, such as the one we are dealing with, where we strive to find a healthy dynamic between left and right brain thinking rather than choosing one over the other. This to get a holistic view of the polarities we are dealing with, and open up for constructive and creative ways of working with a both-and rather than an either-or approach.

A third space between

Extreme doing
mind over body, left brain over right brain
Extreme being
body over mind, right brain over left brain

In our continuous efforts to open up a third space where the best of both worlds can work together, not against each other, we brainstormed a variety of products and games from both worlds. Since the theme of how to handle our emotions had come up as a red thread throughout our respective stories, we focused these ideas around this theme. We then looked closer at the processes involved in the products and games we came up with.

In the world of extreme doing, emotions were viewed as an individual problem to be “fixed”, or avoided, something to quickly suppress or try to get rid of, involving a disconnect from our own body, other people and nature.

In the world of extreme being on the other hand, emotions were embraced in a never-ending spiral of continuous reinforcement, leading to problem avoidance and an “over-connect” to our own bodies, other people and nature, resulting in a lack of boundaries and progress.

What we wanted to create on the other hand, was more of a spiral process of embracing emotions, and allowing them to inform a process that moves towards greater understanding of oneself and others, in a continuous exchange between thought and feeling, as well as oneself and the world around. In the process re-negotiating our relationship to technology, the non-human and to our own humanity at the same time. Emotions, according to this more balanced way of thinking, are barometers that connect us to ourselves, but also our connectedness to or lack thereof to our surroundings (human and non-human). They are to be valued and cherished, sometimes allowed to “just be”, but sometimes used to understand more about our relationship to our surroundings, suggesting action steps that might affect how we relate to the  world around. In this approach, we attempt to integrate “the best of both worlds”. The connectedness to nature and other people of EB, and the analytical progress and sense of self of ED.

The project leaves the audience with the question: What role might A.I. and technology play, or not play, in the development of our own human intelligence?