Multidimensional Intelligence

Intelligence is often presented as a simple linear scale that ranges from some description of “low” to some description of “high”. In fact, intelligence takes on different forms. The linear scale is often used to describe factors like: computational speed, computational accuracy, and amount of knowledge stored. While these all should be included in an assessment of intelligence, it is more correct to consider them as dimensions or aspects of intelligence.

Intelligence should be considered as a whole composite of associated parts or factors. Speed, accuracy, and knowledge are certainly components of intelligence. The way in which these factors are used can be called wisdom or ethics and this should be considered as another factor of intelligence. Even with vast amounts of knowledge and tremendous speed and accuracy in computation, if direction and focus are poor, they may be wasted.

Most if not all forms of computation and intelligent analysis depend upon layers of abstraction and the assignment of semantic symbols. Only once we have abstracted a subset of data and assigned symbols of meaning do we actually perform the manipulation, computation, analysis, and assume conclusions from this process. The way in which the abstractions are performed and semantics are assigned always involve some loss or decay in direct correlation to events. With many layers of abstraction and sloppy semantics, the meaning of conclusions become increasingly insignificant or even incorrect.

In human thinking, we also consider emotions, intuition, and even factors that we label as “spiritual”. These things are usually poorly defined and “fuzzy” even though they may have some validity in considering or measuring intelligence. Emotions and intuition seem to be “shorcuts” to conclusions. If the conclusions reached using these methods are correct, they enhance intelligence. If their accuracy is poor, they may detract from intelligence.

The direction and focus set by wise and ethical choices, and the filters wired in by abstraction and semantics are precursors to computation. Once we arrive at computation, the amount of information and the speed and accuracy become factors. All of these factors can be considered as dimensions of intelligence. Any attempt to measure or compare levels of intelligence must consider them.

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