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Previous Programs

2019 Intelligence in the Physical World
Awardees

2019 Information as Fuel
Awardees

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Gerardo Adesso
University of Nottingham

Paul Knott


Ludovico Lami




Project Title

The ultimate brain: Hallmarks and limitations of intelligence in general probabilistic theories

Project Summary

What is intelligence? In judging whether someone is more or less intelligent - relatively to some specified task, e.g. finding the exit of a maze - we are unlikely to answer "they are intelligent if their neurons are connected in such and such way". Rather, we judge them by their ability to output the right sequence of moves to win. The details of how their brain reaches the solution do not make any difference. We signify this by saying that intelligence, with its main ingredients (memory, processing, learning) is a substrate-independent phenomenon. Here, we postulate that intelligence is even theory-independent: classical systems can exhibit intelligence, as can quantum systems, and even systems abiding by laws beyond those of quantum theory. Using mathematical tools from general probabilistic theories, we will then identify the fundamental laws that enable intelligence to exist, while placing quantitative limits on the ability of intelligent systems to perform tasks like solving mazes, tic-tac-toe and Go. We will then address fascinating questions such as: How many resources does Nature need to evolve an intelligent agent like the human brain? Can even cleverer brains exist in a universe where communication is more nonlocal than in quantum mechanics?



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