# Is a mathematical formula a form of intelligence?

Warning: This question takes us into VALIS territory, but I wouldn't underestimate the profundity of that particular philosopher.

There is a non-AI definition of intelligence which is simply "information" (see definition 2.3). If that information is active, in terms of utilization, I have to wonder if it might qualify as a form of algorithmic intelligence, regardless of the qualities of the information.

What I'm getting at is that fields such as recreational mathematics often produce techniques and solutions that don't have immediate, real world applications. But there's an adage that pure math tends to find uses.

So you might have algorithms applied to a problems that outside of the problems from which it originated, or that couldn't initially be implemented in a computing context. (Minimax in 1928 might be an example.)

Goal orientation has been widely understood as a fundamental aspect of AI, but in the case of an algorithm designed for one problem, that it subsequently applied to a different problem, the goal may simply be a function of the algorithm's structure. (To understand the goal of minimax precisely, you read the algorithm.)

If you regard this form of information as intelligence, then intelligence can be general, regardless of strength in relation to a given problem.

• Can we consider this form of codification of information to be algorithmic intelligence?

And, just for fun, if a string that encodes a cutting-edge AI is not being processed, does it still qualify as artificial intelligence?

• Could you explain what you mean by the last question a little more? Apr 14 '18 at 22:25
• @AndrewButler We tend to think of intelligence as applied. An AI is an applied algorithm that makes decisions with the goal of achieving more optimal results. But if the program is not running, say it's just the paper printout of the algorithm, is it still an intelligence? (Admittedly a bit of a curve ball, but this is squarely a philosophical question about what we regard as intelligence.)
– DukeZhou
Apr 15 '18 at 3:59
• @AndrewButler but admittedly, the ultimate question is in the realm of "am I a man dreaming of being a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming of being a man?" One of the most salient features of Dick's work is that nearly all his books are about the nature of self in relation perception, and how perception governs subjective reality. It's a profound comment on the informational conception of the universe, which does have some traction in serious circles. A recurrent aspect of Singluarity mythology is the interchangeability of matter and information.
– DukeZhou
Apr 17 '18 at 2:23