In order to answer the question requires that the definition of intelligence (human or otherwise) be grounded into the physical model. There are two forms of intelligence in the physical model, one subconscious (general) and the other conscious (specific).
The subconscious is responsible for managing the brain’s process and performing all the physical reactions. It exist in a deterministic universe where the decisions are known and reactions automated. In the brain, the shape of the deterministic universe is time. For something to be deterministic, it must have guaranteed results within a specific time cycle. This requirement precludes the use of reasoning and long-term memory whose completion time cannot be fixed. The subconscious runs on general intelligence. To understand the format of general intelligence, think in terms of a jigsaw puzzle. General intelligence only needs the border of the puzzle. With just the basic object structure, the subconscious can move and process data throughout the brain without regards to its content. It is functionally agnostic and can complete its automation cycle without reasoning.
Now, consciousness is responsible for mapping the non-deterministic environment to the deterministic universe. To do this, it must exist outside of that universe so its own non-deterministic nature doesn’t interfere with the subconscious process. Consciousness runs on specific intelligence. Its job is to decipher the contents of the puzzle. In humans, specific intelligence takes on the form of visual symbols. These symbols are used by the conscious state for reasoning and long-term memory access. How decisions are reached has no predefined form or technique. It is a non-deterministic process based on the accumulation of individual experience and previous selection. This process allows the biological life-form to adapt decision-making to its own environment. In the most basic sense, the subconscious allows us to live in a deterministic universe and consciousness allows us to adapt to a non-deterministic environment.
The two forms of intelligence are functionally incompatible. The non-deterministic environment has no common translation to a deterministic universe. If it did, it wouldn’t be non-deterministic. To overcome the translation problem, the lower occipital lobe is a functional “Black Box” that allows the two different formats to be written into the same memory construct. By simple association, the two systems coexist in a non-invasive relationship where the hippocampus (short-term) memory serves as an interchange point.
With a grounded physical model, I can now attempt to answer some of the questions.
- We have “free will”, but it can only exist in the non-deterministic environment of the conscious state. There is no such thing as “free will” in a deterministic universe. The results of that universe are already known and decided.
- A deterministic universe cannot change. Its own nature precludes
adaption from within. To make alterations requires a separate state
that can rise above the process in order to change the process.
Biological consciousness serves this role and requires “free will”
to make decisions outside of the scope of what is already known.
- There are no ethics in a deterministic universe. Abstracting right and wrong is a reasoning function which is not allowed. AI constructs like agents which do pattern matching to develop predictions/reactions are not directly attached to any conscious state. They are deterministic functions whose capability is predefined. Simply put, agents cannot exceed the sum of their programming because they cannot adapt to that which is not known or anticipated.
- Liability only exists where “free will” exists and does not exist in the deterministic universe. Otherwise, you are attempting to blame your hand for a decision originated in your frontal lobe.
- “Free will” becomes a prisoner of the deterministic universe. As experience and decision knowledge grow, more and more decisions are shifted to the subconscious. This creates a dependency that restricts the range of “free will” and the decisions it is called upon to resolve.
- Creativity does not exist in the deterministic universe. It is an essential skill used by the conscious state to employ related memory to formulate new decisions. Creativity is used by animals to develop survival skills to adapt to environmental changes. The production of art work in an esoteric sense is purely human, but as a basic function is not.
- Intent does not exist in the deterministic universe. Within the non-deterministic universe of consciousness, intent is buried in an ocean of previous experience that may or may not reflect current “free will” goals. Especially, if these goals threaten the survival of the biological process.